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be:Newhall by Alison Brooks Architects

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More Homes, Better Homes: The AJ presents twelve exemplar housing schemes

Our scheme of 85 dwellings seeks to create new domestic typologies and a sculptural approach to suburban residential architecture, inspired by the powerful forms of rural buildings in the Essex landscape. The masterplan embeds patio and terraced houses within a compact block layout to achieve a dense suburban neighourhood, compensated by more living space in each home.

In contrast to a typical house plot of 5 x 20m, a 10 x 10m plot allows a T-shaped house plan with courtyards at ground and first floor. This creates open plan, light-filled houses, flexible indoor/outdoor living and a dedicated home office at ground floor overlooking the street. The suburban house has a new life as a commercial ‘shopfront’.

The masterplan is a structured layout consisting of east-west lanes and north-south boulevards. The boulevards are lined with free-standing villas and five apartment buildings that mark prominent junctions.

Alison Brooks, founding director, Alison Brook Architects

Recommendation: The Triangle, Swindon by Glenn Howells Architects


The triangle by Glenn Howells Architects is a rare example of extremely low-energy, low-density affordable housing in a suburban context with a very clear identity, sense of quality and place.

GHA has reversed the traditional masterplanning approach pushing the houses to the edge of the site and reducing private back gardens to create a large communal green space that serves a social purpose as well as providing space for integrated sustainable technologies.

The careful consideration of proportions and a crafted approach to detailing make The Triangle a true exemplar for low-cost, low carbon housing design.

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