GRAYS ROAD, HARBORNE, BIRMINGHAM, WEEDON PARTNERSHIP
The site, comprising a disused lawnmower-repair shed with a couple of redundant industrial-looking outbuildings, is bounded by a publichouse car park and adjacent rear gardens to form a difficult triangular shape of less than 200m 2.Weedon Partnership's practice partner, Phil Cole, says: 'All three site boundaries had some form of restriction. On one side there are 11 mature lime trees, on another a public right of way and a narrow road with no parking or pavement provision, etc. We decided on a design for a maximum two-storey, minimum two-bedroom townhouse, with adequate amenity space and adequate parking (which didn't hinder the existing road) to optimise the limited space while making sure that we addressed all the adjacent neighbours' concerns.' The planners enforced an overnight tree preservation order for the 11 limes, which reduced the developed site by a further 30m 2, and insisted that despite excellent access to road, rail and public transport city links, a car parking space had to be provided without the need for reversing or doors being able to open out on to the roadway.
This further restricted the flexibility of amenity space, resulting in a maximum building plot footprint of 40m 2 and complex plan geometry to maximise the views out while minimising overlooking and wasted space.
This resultant plan form, determined by events, led to the simplified design principle of suburban terrace proportions to match the current street scene, while enabling the architect to explore the appearance of two separate and bold elevations within the confines of the same dwelling.
l Red brick follows the contextual link to the surrounding terraces and public house and forms a visual base to the dwelling.
l White render has a contextual reference to adjacent terraces, and combines with the timber to define.
l Glass enhances, or reflects private and public faces of the dwelling with a smaller 'slot' style to the roadside and a large 'open' style to the south-easterly living and bedroom functions.
l Iroko timber cladding on the signature elements creates a further vertical separation in the white render.