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.
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.
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”
Our latest completed project for Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust is looking great in the sunshine. The final phase of flats has now been occupied alongside the houses that were handed over a few months ago and this morning we’ve been out in Garretts Green to take a few photos.
Garretts Green, begun in 1939 and completed in 1960, was to developed to rehouse people from inner-city slum dwellings and many of its public buildings shared features of municipal modernism often dubbed ‘moderne’ because of its streamlined and Art Deco motifs.
Meon Grove, a development of 18 flats and 13 family houses, takes its lead from this and in its prominent position, provides a significant new landmark in the area. The three storey flats are an unusual triangular arrangement around common staircases, embracing the two retained trees at each corner with parking/storage underneath.
Their style reinterprets 30’s moderne, a deliberate attempt to lighten the rather heavy post-war municipal housing by alluding to inter-war modernist flats in Europe and America’s west coast, particularly those by Schindler & Neutra.
The composition of brick base with render panels, carefully composed windows and balconies serve to give the flats an urbane quality, as opposed to being enlarged versions of two storey houses. The new housing is closely related in material and window treatments with box bay windows used as visual markers on corners and threshold gables.
Thanks to the whole team for their work on the project, we’ve enjoyed collaborating with Jessup Brothers, Capita, Stewart & Harris and BCC. The success of BMHT continues and this was also recognised again last night with an RTPI award for planning excellence.
(the design process was also featured in a past blog post about our use of BIM and BMHT)
Last week we attended the Greenbuild Expo in Manchester, exploring innovative products such as load bearing insulation for thermal bridge reduction and recycled plastics for external works. We also had the pleasure of being finalists in the Greenbuild Awards.
The Greenbuild Awards 2013 recognise true achievement looking for low-energy buildings that go the extra mile to reduce their environmental impact. The Blurton Community Hub in Stoke on Trent was a finalist within the Breakthrough Award for Innovation. The building features integrated low energy measures including a 33kw GSHP, 9kw PV roof mounted arrays, large scale heat recovery system solar thermal water heating, infra red lighting controls and rainwater storage and recycling. We are monitoring the buildings performance against its expected BREEAM Excellent rating and will use the info to assist the successful future management of the building.
The building is part of the Ingestre Square development, a phased mixed use project including housing, flats, commercial/retail units as well as the Hub and its community garden. The project, due to be completed this summer, is being developed by Aspire Housing Group and Stoke on Trent City Council.
Our thanks to our clients, our project team colleagues Poole Dick Associates, RED Landscape, and Sustain, and the contractor Kier Partnership Homes.
Axis Design joined the team of Architects for Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust (BMHT) in 2009. Since then we’ve worked on a number of sites, 5 of which are now complete. This important work to deliver quality homes for Birmingham City Council continues and we’ve had a busy few months working on several new sites. As things stand, we currently have 2 sites which have been submitted for planning approval (image below right) and we have recently gained planning permission for a scheme in Bartley Green. Additionally, work is underway on a site in Sheldon and we recently attended the official opening event for 27 new homes we designed at Pype Hayes.
The homes at Pype Hayes have been a particularly interesting project for us. Back in 1989, Axis were appointed in an advisory capacity to the Pype Hayes Steering Group. Pype Hayes was an estate of over 1300 Boswell homes built in the 1930’s, but the buildings were designated defective and local residents formed a steering group in order to have control over the changes to the estate that were so desperately needed. Our involvement with the steering group led to our appointment as Masterplanners and Concept Architects for the wider masterplan of the entire estate.
Our involvement with the Pype Hayes resident group continued and the final phases of the development of the estate was to be delivered under BMHT. Serendipitously for us, we had already been appointed to the architect’s framework for BMHT and the design of 27 individual homes which would form the final phase of the development fell to us. We were able to call on 20 years experience of working on the estate – we know the area well, we know the residents, and we were able to apply our experience of social housing design to ensure high quality homes for the final group of new residents.
It was a pleasure for us to work with the residents group again – they saw us as old friends thanks to our one-to-one work with them previously. Working closely with them, assisted by Waterloo Housing Association and supported by Birmingham City Housing Department throughout the last couple of decades means we have helped deliver a successful transformation on the estate. Retaining an involvement for 23 years makes this our longest running project since Axis Design was formed 30 years ago.
A key handover event was held at the end of September 2012 to celebrate the success of the project, to recognise the hard work and dedication of the residents steering group, and to mark the completion of this last phase of works. The final 27 homes were delivered by Keepmoat Homes on behalf of BMHT in a process overseen by Capita Symonds. The photo (above left) shows representatives from the Pype Hayes residents group with Councillor Tahir Ali (3rd from left) at the key handover event last month.
A few weeks ago Axis Design nominated the BMHT team at Birmingham City Council for WMCCE’s Client of the Year award. We were invited to join Capita Symond’s table at the annual Celebrating Construction awards dinner last week and we were delighted to learn that our nomination had been successful. Here’s what the judges said:
The deserving winner in this category is Birmingham City Council’s Homes & Neighbourhoods Directorate. They have shown a clear commitment to meeting the urgent need for high quality sustainable homes and communities providing a growing legacy for the city through BMHT.
Axis Design Architects have nominated the BMHT Team for this category because they believe the project has greatly benefited from their positive attitude to open collaboration throughout – engaging in dialogue and supporting innovative housing solutions.