We are all aware of Flood resistant houses, usually one-off designs on high-value sites, which use expensive, high maintenance, elevated or flotation construction & technology. However providing protection from flooding for mass social housing present more formidable planning, economic and construction challenges.
In 2014 as part of the City Council’s Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust programme, we were asked to examine the feasibility of developing generic solutions for infill housing on clearance sites within floodplain 3A zoning.
The solutions had to work at higher densities in lower value areas, employ little or no expensive technology with no high maintenance costs and still function within the design and spatial parameters of affordable social housing.
In association with Hydroland Ltd, the hydrological consultant on the team, generic proposals for 2.5 storey, two to four-bedroom family homes were modelled to demonstrate an ability to resist flood damage up to a depth of 1 metre using split level sections, ground modelling and attenuation channels.
The house types set within a demonstration layout meeting the requirements of the NPPF exception test including volume compensation, dry access/egress and third party risk were presented to representatives of Birmingham City Council and the Environment Agency during 2017.
Our client in close collaboration with the EA has now selected two demonstration sites which following detailed design have secured Planning Approval and will begin construction in 2020. We will update our site with feedback as the build progresses over the coming months.
We are currently supporting Witton Lakes Community Association with concept proposals for the refurbishment and re-use of a public baths building, exploring ideas around co-working and community services through project team and stakeholder discussions, precedent study visits, drawings and visualisations.
Collaboration with a cost consultant and considering possible phasing and fundraising is also a critical part of our role for the client and our work will form the backbone of future funding applications to revitalise the street and building.
Paul and Tracey wanted to provide extra bedrooms by extending their dated bungalow. They wanted a more contemporary feel with an improved front entrance and much better views of their garden, its Lebanese Cedar tree and the surrounding countryside.
They got all of that plus a balcony, full en-suite, ramped covered entrance, built-in storage and a window seat for the cat.
The client reaction says it all; ‘The house is a triumph! Your vision translated into a building.’
After much searching David & Colin found the ideal corner site in the Forest of Dean, the only obstacle to their dreams of an eco-friendly, contemporary house was the sixties house already occupying the site.
With extensions front and rear, and a roof over, it vanished within the apparently new 4 bed house which now occupies the site. The house features an array of low energy tech, a passive solar orangerie and a dog grooming room for Belle after those muddy walks in the woods.
A family of five needed an exceptional piece of architecture on an exciting site. On their behalf, we recently secured a planning approval under paragraph 79 of the NPPF (previously para 55) citing exceptional architectural quality for an impressive riverside site in the Malvern Hills.
Interpreting the family’s hopes for their future home, working with the Malvern Hills District Council and MADE design review panel feedback we developed several evolutions and tested each with extensive digital modelling and drawing.
The final proposal was a synthesis of responding to the topography and river edge, distant views across the landscape and energy consumption and generation management.
BIM software and parametric modelling were utilised to test energy performance and overheating risks, resulting in an integration of technology and decoration using bespoke screens to manage the desire for a predominantly glazed living space – mediating between privacy needs and solar gain control.
Witton Lakes Community Association wished to create a new future for the Park Keeper’s cottage by the reservoir, provided to them via an asset transfer from Birmingham City Council.
We assisted from the beginning of the concept, collaborating with them in meetings and funding applications to raise money to realise their goal.
The project creates a new community hall extension to the existing building and envisages a base for hosting events and displays around the subject of fuel and energy-saving, landscape and ecology.
Sustainable construction and detailing will be central to the design of the scheme and we have collaborated with Price & Myers structural engineers to create a glulam timber frame structure visible throughout the interior.
A Birmingham charity needed a new base on their waterside green space. We recently secured planning approval for a new community building on behalf of Birmingham Settlement to be built on their playing field site next to Edgbaston Reservoir.
The new building sites itself on the original footprint of the previous building to serve the field, with a minor increase in size to accommodate space for group events and toilet facilities. The building aims to create a new beacon set against the green landscape of the site to make it visible to passers-by from the reservoir path and uses an unusual roof form and colour palette to announce its presence.
Construction detailing is underway and we are collaborating with Webb Yates engineers on the detailing and quality of low-carbon, natural materials including Porotherm clay blocks, cellulose insulation and timber.
Friends of Cotteridge Park needed a new building to help support their extensive work with the local community. The facility will provide a meeting space and shelter throughout the year and is designed to be a robust, permanent solution yet have minimal impact on the landscape.
Designed in collaboration with Wikihouse, the innovative plywood structure is created from CNC routed bespoke pieces, forming box panels and beams that are fully insulated and assembled on site. The final structure is finished in a plain metal cladding to receive a community art mural and kept warm and efficient with triple glazing. A sedum roof will help the building respond to the changing seasons reduce overheating.
Last few days on site for our community building in Cotteridge Park that we built with the help of Wikihouse. Next step is a whole building mural by a local artist. pic.twitter.com/ER8aAmFYmO
We congratulate Wendy and all the Lyng Community Association Board on winning the Housing Excellence Award 2014 in the Regeneration Category.
Who would have imagined that all those meetings back in late 2000, those cold and wet evenings, busy weekends workshops and lengthy discussions about the finer points of housing design would be so successful.
Our continued best wishes to all of you and the Lyng residents for sticking with it.
In January 2004 Axis Design were interviewed by the Coalville Partnership to undertake an Estate Masterplan for the redevelopment of the Coalville Estate, Stoke on Trent. A decade later members of the Coalville Partnership, Stoke-on-Trent Council officers and members, Compendium Living, Coalville Residents Association, Riverside and residents of the redevelopment now named Weston Heights came together on 23rd January to bury a time capsule containing drawings, public consultation papers, school project work, digital records and a few packets of sweets, scheduled to opened, and maybe eaten, in 2064.
It was a fitting culmination to our decade long relationship with the project, as we gathered in the new Neighbourhood Park originally conceived by Tony Goodall as he sketched up the first Masterplan ideas over Christmas 2003. Tony, a local lad, was born in Meir about a mile down the River Blythe from the new park which now has a commemorative wall bearing his name and those of other local residents, officers, friends and relatives.
Robert Flello, local MP, gave the regeneration team a ringing endorsement when he said:
“Weston Heights is the most successful regeneration partnership project in Stoke-on-Trent”