Sergison Bates has completed this 14 home scheme on a former car park and driving test centre in suburban Aldershot, Hampshire
The £2.45 million project for Baylight Property Services features seven villas set within a woodland landscape.
The homes are made with a flat Flemish brick and include entrances marked by ‘richly coloured glazed tiling to the walls and soffits… reminiscent of the decoration of traditional Victorian housing developments’.
- 2 two-bedroom semi-detached houses (74m²)
- 9 three-bedroom semi-detached houses (93m²)
- 3 four-bedroom semi-detached houses (114m²)
The architect’s view
‘The site lies within the heathland area crossing Surrey and North Hampshire and consists of an area of land bounded to the south by North Lane and to the west by a recent development of 25 veterans assisted homes.
‘It was used for light commercial activity including car parking and a driving test centre and is considered a brownfield site. The north and east perimeters of the site are bounded by wooded railway embankments that form part of a larger local network of ‘green corridors’.
‘The design recognises the qualities of the wooded embankments and seeks to amplify these qualities by extending the woodland landscape into the site creating a green and informal setting, incorporating car parking and private amenity space. New tree planting of birch, rowan, pine, aspen and fruit trees are proposed to reinforce the existing ‘green corridor’ habitat.
‘Within this new wooded landscape, clearings are formed in which seven ‘villas’ containing 14 semi-detached homes are placed.
‘The villas consisting of a mix of two-, three- and four-bedroom dwellings are rectangular in plan and have pitched roofs. A cut is formed in two diagonally opposite corners to reduce their massing and mark the entrance to each house. The two houses within each villa are arranged side by side, along a stepped party wall. An enfilade of three spaces is established at ground level of each house, linking the entrance hall with the kitchen and living room. The increased floor to ceiling height of the living room creates a stepped section on the first floor with bedrooms accessed at different levels. Landings are open to the roof space above and this collection of sectional adjustments and spatial sequences gives a surprisingly rich and complex character to these modest-sized dwellings. The three different villa types are placed on the site to give each a unique character based upon its position and orientation.
‘Approached and accessed from an informal roadway that has the character of a forestry road rather than a more conventional adopted highway the different aspects of each villa are perceived as one moves through the landscape. All houses are provided with generous windows to all habitable rooms maximising sunlight and daylight and providing views out into the communal landscape or to rear and side gardens against the backdrop of the wooded embankments.
‘The villas are evenly distributed across the site and placed so as to be angled to the boundary edges and to one another, giving the impression of a loose arrangement of houses, as in a rural or suburban setting. Variations in building form, type and orientation ensure that each villa appears unique.
Each villa appears unique
‘These variations, together with small, open structures within the landscape in which cars can be parked, combine to create a rich and varied development.
‘The palette of materials and detailing is consistent across the scheme and is intended to complement the proposed wooded landscape setting and to resonate with the materiality of nearby developments. A smaller than usual, flat Flemish brick was selected and laid in a wild bond to emphasise an overall weave-like texture to the wall. Timber windows are stained black and roman tiled roofs are detailed with crisp aluminium edges and gutters. Entrances are marked by the application of richly coloured glazed tiling to the walls and soffits adjacent to doorways in a manner reminiscent of the decoration of traditional Victorian housing developments.’