Brook Cottages, Ilkeston

Case study

Brook Cottages, Ilkeston

This project was initially for the development of three residential dwellings, including one larger house intended for the client to move into directly.

The site is situated at the end of a string of terrace buildings with the access via a very busy and poorly designed four-way junction. The site is also located close to a canal and industrial area.

This project proved to be quite tricky with a lot of back and forth with the planning department and highways England. Initial planning was completed and submitted with two mirrored semi detached properties (see picture 1) These were in keeping with the style of the current terrace houses adjacent to the site, both homes had adequate parking for two vehicles via the rear access road. The third house was of a similar style externally, with the exception of a large double garage to the side elevation which held the master bedroom above. Although the scheme design was received well by local authority planning officers, the issues arose from the parking provision and access to the site due to the already poorly working four-way junction.

Change of 'Plans'

After several consultations with highways England to resolve the potential parking and access issues, it was concluded that the development would have to be reduced in size to ensure parking could be provided via a new access which would allow users to arrive and depart in a forward gear, meaning a larger provision for parking would be required.

Based on this feedback and knowing what the clients ultimate aim was for this project, we came up with a number of resolutionary options one of which was to reduce the number of properties to just showcase one larger bespoke single story property for his growing family. We knew that for this approach to be agreeable to planning, a stand out property of significant architectural and environmental merit would be required, due to the surrounding property typology. The approach was welcomed by the client as this was in line with his own environmental views for a sustainable home for his family.

Keeping in budget and in line with the local built environment

Taking on board all the previous feedback and planning requirements, we knew this had to work with the current surrounding architecture to make this work. Working with the client we took the approach to reflect the design of a recently built large scale care home with a mono pitched roof to be in keeping with the local area design on the other bank of the canal.

Budget was also a large contributing factor in the design and build of the property. We worked to ensure the scale, design aesthetics, function and credentials met the client’s expectations whilst also keeping within the required budget. Costing reviews were undertaken throughout early stages so decisions could be made as the design evolved. This enabled the project to move forward with no surprises or major design reviews. The client was always informed and knew the impact of design changes so the expectations were managed for the budget that they had.

The Final outcome

Ultimately we designed a modern contemporary dwelling, using cutting edge ICF construction methods with a fabric first approach, ensuring thermal efficiency of the dwelling was the number one priority. The design reflects its surroundings, whilst also being a standout property in its own right. The internal courtyard provides a safe and secluded, private space for the family to spend time together or entertain, and is a focal point, designed to be viewed from all living parts of the house, bridging the gap between the outdoors and in.

The focus on sustainable design and low running costs have been achieved through the use of our knowledge and involvement in PassivHAUS, BREEAM and HQM assessments and methodology. From the very early stages we ensured the running costs and CO2 emissions of the property were kept as low as possible utilizing the budget available and ensuring future running costs for the home were kept to a minimal.

Collaboration is key

Using our collective expertise in sustainability, Project management and design/visual thinking methodologies we ensured the project did not stall when awaiting feedback or decisions.  Working collaboratively with the client, highways England and the planning authority has resulted in a stunning bespoke dwelling with minimal predicted future running costs. Heating requirements will be minimal and the internal environment will be predictably comfortable year-round whilst also encompassing the design and living requirements of the client resulting in their dream home becoming a reality.