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RCKa completes Herts retirement homes on ‘undevelopable’ site

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RCKa has completed 38 flats in a series of deep-gabled Arts and Crafts-inspired blocks for developer PegasusLife in Harpenden

Park House accommodates three one-bedroom and 35 two-bedroom apartments alongside communal facilities and a community café. 

Occupying a prominent site in the centre of Harpenden, the project for PegasusLife was given the go ahead in early 2016 following a planning battle which saw the proposals, originally rejected by St Albans District Council, go through an appeal and public enquiry. Before RCKa was appointed to the development in 2013, six planning applications had already been submitted for the contentious site which had remained unoccupied for 14 years.

Rcka 1323 park house harpenden 5182

Rcka 1323 park house harpenden 5182

The development features three separate pavilions linked at ground floor by communal and community spaces, each varying in height. The pavilions have been staggered within the landscape to reduce the scheme’s massing and increase its access to daylight. These increase in height from three storeys closest to the high street, to six overlooking the park. Subtle chamfers are used to respond to specific views from surrounding streets, while a twisted roof introduces a playful element to the scheme and reduces overshadowing.

At ground-floor level a dark brick plinth and colonnade joins the three blocks together and incorporates a range of spaces including a residents’ lounge, hobby room, restaurant and wellbeing suite. The white-painted brick housing, its deep gables inspired by surrounding Arts and Crafts buildings, is arranged around a central landscaped courtyard which is designed to encourage social interaction.

Park House, Hampenden by RCKa

Park House, Hampenden by RCKa

Project data 

Start on site October 2016
Completion November 2018
Gross internal floor area 5,400m² (residential)
Site area 4,527m²
Form of contract or procurement route Design & Build
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect RCKa
Client PegasusLife
Structural engineer Symmetrys
M&E consultant Max Fordham
Landscape consultant Camlins
Employer’s agent Provelio
Approved building inspector Salus Approved Inspectors
Main contractor Shaylor Group
CAD software used MicroStation, Revit

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