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Award-winning Turkish architect bags first UK scheme

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RIBA award-winning Turkish practice Emre Arolat Architecture (EAA) has secured its first UK planning consent – a major extension and conversion of an office block into homes

Councillors on Reading Borough Council’s planning applications committee approved EAA’s proposals for Clarendon House in the city.

The scheme will see the practice – which picked up the 2018 RIBA Award for International Excellence for its Sancaklar Mosque project in Istanbul – add one storey to the roof of the Reading building as well as nine storeys to the side and rear.

It will also reconfigure the existing Clarendon House and create mews houses in the courtyard of the 1980s building, accommodating a total of 92 flats.

A consultation period led to 28 letters of objection to the scheme with complaints including ‘overdevelopment’ and harm to the setting of the nearby Eldon Square Conservation Area and Grade II-listed Wesley Methodist Church.

But planning officers concluded that the plans would cause less-than-substantial harm to these areas, and that this should be weighed against the public benefits.

EAA said it aimed to create ‘ensemble buildings that step and create a sensitive relationship with the surroundings’.

‘The proposal pays homage to the history of the area, borrowing materials from the conservation area and offering a contemporary interpretation of traditional materials,’ said the practice. ‘The main material was brick to relate to the surroundings, however each volume has a slightly different expression.’

Practice co-founder Emre Arolat said: ‘The project has been driven by urban, environmental and heritage considerations, such as the character of the urban block, impact on the public realm and a response to the Conservation Area; notably the relationship with the Wesley Church immediately to the south of the development site.’

Project data

Location Reading
Type of project Residential
Client Allies and Urban High Developments JV
Architect EAA-Emre Arolat Architecture
Landscape architect Wilder Associates
Planning consultant Vocalism
Structural engineer Fluid Structures
M&E consultant QuinnRoss
Quantity surveyor Future54
Daylight, sunlight advice Point2 Surveyors

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