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FIRST LOOK

Thirty houses completed on ex-industrial site in Liverpool by DK-Architects

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The Gables combines a mix of two to four-bed affordable and market homes

DK-Architects’ scheme for Musker Developments is located on a former factory site in Crosby, Liverpool. Its layout comprises an outer perimeter of detached and semi-detached homes arranged around a shared surface with a central terrace block of back-to-back courtyard houses.

Thegables0669

Thegables0669

The back-to-back house typology of the central block has been reworked using an L-shaped form to increase the density on the site, while balancing this with privacy and the provision of open and private amenity space. Each unit has a courtyard garden at ground floor and a large first-floor roof terrace, while all the interior spaces exceed Nationally Described Space Standards.

The project intends to create a sense of place and identity, with the house-types visually connected through a repetition of detailing and the proportioning of their gable frontages, with deep reveals, chamfered brick window heads and cranked eaves roof windows.

Thegables0149

Thegables0149

Source: Daniel Hopkinson

Architect’s view

Massing has been carefully controlled across the site with a staggered repetition of 2.5 & single-storey elements providing visual interest, ensuring continuous frontage and containment, while at the same time giving a sense of openness to the public realm spaces between the houses. The overall size and proportions of the site would have resulted in a low density had the design followed a typical residential site approach. Thankfully, our client had the ambition to create something more special and unique.

To ensure best land use and to help maximise the commerciality of the development, DK-Architects worked with both the client and local authority to develop a more creative and characterful development. Our design, which included a reinvention of the back-to-back courtyard house, intelligent use of loft spaces (both for internal spatial planning and as a key part of the identity of the houses) and the inclusion of generous roof terraces, allowed an uplift in density while maintaining a sense of openness, and amenity for these family houses – aspects fundamental to the developer’s brand. At 44d/Ha this is a very dense housing site which still provides generous family living, large private gardens, and high levels of car parking.

Thegables0246

Thegables0246

Source: Daniel Hopkinson

Within a strong architectural identity, a number of different houses types and sizes have been combined into a seamless whole.

The shared surface also adds hugely to the sense of identity of the development – houses, gardens, boundary treatments, landscaping and road surfaces all combined to create a striking and unique character.

Dave Dickerson, director, DK-Architects

The gables 02 site plan

The gables 02 site plan

Source: DK Architects

Site plan

Client’s view 

We are delighted with this development. It has raised and set a new benchmark for the level of quality in the local area. Market reaction has been tremendous, with end values outperforming other local developments by a considerable margin – rewarding our commitment to deliver the vision of the architectural design.

As a local developer, we have made a conscious decision to not compete directly with standard products on offer from the volume housebuilders, thus bringing a different product to the housing market.

DK-Architects’ approach was to provide an architecture that is distinctive and contemporary – complementary to the surroundings, but clear and unique in vision and approach. The forms are borrowed from the surrounding context and the construction is sophisticated – combining traditional materials in a contemporary way with robust detailing. The careful use and repetition of form, and the distinctive, restrained detailing have formed a strong identity for our development.

Access to the development is through a standard Bellway housing development, and the contrast in aims between the two developments is marked – room heights, size of windows, and the overall scale of our houses are in stark contrast to the more standard housing.

Gavin Whiteside, director, Musker Developments

The gables 05 axo section

The gables 05 axo section

Source: DK Architects

Sectional site axonometric

Project Data

Start on site September 2017
Completion date October 2019
Gross internal floor area 3,342m²
Form of contract or procurement route JCT design and build
Construction cost £5.01 million
Construction cost per m2 £1,499
Architect DK-Architects
Client Musker Developments
Structural engineer ICIS Design
Landscape consultant DK-Architects
Acoustic consultant Hydrock
CDM coordinator Courtley Health & Safety
Main contractor Formby Point Construction
CAD software used Vectorworks

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