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In semester 2 of our MA Urban Design course, students are going to focus on improving residential design & development processes operating in the United Kingdom at present time. Before starting with the design process, to understand the alternative types of housing schemes e.g. Co-housing, live-work housing & life cycle housing; we visited some of the existing schemes. we visited “The Malings”, “Sinclair Meadows”, “The Rise” in Newcastle upon tyne & “Forgebank Lancaster cohousing”. In this blog, I will focus on doing BFL analysis (Building For Life 12 tool for assessing the design quality of homes & neighborhoods in England ) of “Sinclair Meadows”.

Fig. 1 – Sinclair meadows co-housing scheme in South Shields.
1. Integrating into the neighborhood

In terms of the connections, site is located beside the main highway A194 and it has only one common Entry/Exit, opening on Reed street.  In terms of visual connections, all the units on the site are facing inwards with the backyards facing to the highway. Parking & landscaped areas are located next to adjoining building’s backyards which provide good buffer space.

Fig. 2 – Ariel View of the site (2017)

All the basic facilities and services like, pharmacy, grocery shop, school, supermarket, cathedral, restaurants are located within one-mile radius of the site. It is also well connected with the bus stops with every 15-20 mins of bus frequency & 7 min walk away from the nearest metro station of Chichester.The Site has nine 3-bed units & twelve 2-bed apartment units which are suitable for local housing requirements.

2. Creating a place

All the building units have a distinctive character with the wooden planks elevation with respect to its surroundings. L-shaped site layout is oriented as it can get maximum advantage of sunlight from the south in common spaces and for the solar panels placed on the rooftops. Streets for vehicular access, pedestrian and parking are clearly defined with different materials used and landscaped common space is also having a clearly defined boundary. It is a very small scheme with housing units facing towards central space so, it is easy for someone to find his/her way through.

3. Streets & Home
Fig. 3 – Parking spaces & separate streets for pedestrians

Vehicles are restricted to the starting end of the site & the site has no street passing through which makes it pedestrian friendly and safe for other activities. Only 9 parking spaces have been provided between 21 units which creates the problem among the residents. In terms of common space, one garden area has been provided in which residents frequently arrange communal activities. Each unit has its own backyard but front gardens are not well defined in terms of privacy of the space. Lastly, all waste storage bins are located in the common space for all units in starting end of the site & each unit also have its own cycle storage space.

Conclusion

I give 10/12 score for BFL analysis to the site which can improve in terms of its co-housing amenity spaces and private and parking spaces.


References:

BFL – “Building For Life 12 – Third Edition”. Design Council. N.p., 2017. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.

Fig. 1: Energy, Narec. “Narec Distributed Energy | Advancing Renewable Energy”. Narec Distributed Energy. N.p., 2017. Web. 13 Mar. 2017. URL – http://www.narecde.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Sinclair_Meadows.png

Fig. 2: “Arial View Of “Sanclair Meadows””. N.p., 2017. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.

Fig. 3: “Parking spaces & separate streets for pedestrians”. Fitzarchitects.files.wordpress.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 13 Mar. 2017. URL – https://fitzarchitects.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/untitled_panorama21.jpg

 

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School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509

Email: nicola.rutherford@ncl.ac.uk


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