Duns project is up for award

Affordable housing in Berwickshire
Affordable housing in Berwickshire

the £1 million second phase of housing at Todlaw, Duns, has been shortlisted for a prestigious national architectural award.

The project comprises twelve flats for affordable rent, arranged into three blocks each of which contains four flats.

Berwickshire Housing Association commissioned Oliver Chapman Architects to design the project which is located across the road from the architect’s RIBA Regional Award winning supported housing built for Berwickshire Housing Association.

The earlier scheme, designed for a number of the former residents of the Sue Ryder home at Marchmont, Greenlaw, won a RIBA award in 2008.

The single storey buildings of the first phase are characterised by their inherently simple forms, recessed eaves detailing and controlled material palette. And these elements reappear in this second phase, adapted to suit the two storey blocks.

Oliver Chapman Architects worked on the Todlaw development and are delighted to have their work recognised on the national stage once again.

“We’re especially pleased that we’re getting new build affordable housing in Berwickshire into the limelight again,” said Oliver Chapman.

“ The design complements the RIBA and Scottish Borders Council award winning supported housing designed by us two years ago, on the other side of the street. These flats were another successful collaboration between Berwickshire Housing Association and Borders based contractors JS Swintons and quantity surveyors DI Burchell and Partners.

“These 12 flats are for affordable rent for people with varying needs, typically older people and young families.

“Well insulated walls, floors and roofs along with ground source heat pumps which were bored 70 metres vertically into the ground, make these homes very energy efficient.

“They generate only a third as much carbon per square metre floor area as a conventional modern home.

“Cars are tucked between the gables up to the rear boundary of the site, allowing room for landscaping in front of the houses. In this way, the unsightly common arrangement of rows of cars parked between the back of the pavement and the front of houses, is avoided.

“The neighbouring scheme’s single storey semi detached, characteristically simple forms, careful eaves detailing and material palette is continued in this second phase, but adapted to suit these two storey blocks each of which contains four flats.

“Gaps between gables allow views of the agricultural Berwickshire landscape. Private gardens are at both the front for the upper flats and back for the lower flats, with living rooms directed towards the garden in each flat’s ownership. Kitchen windows look out down the stairs and across the entrance paths.

“Like the traditional houses in lowland and Scottish coastal towns as well as the sought after colony houses in Edinburgh, external stairs to first floor front doors articulate the form and their sheltered landings provide an opportunity for neighborliness.

“The external walls of each block are treated as two interlocking shells, an outer shell of dark blue engineering brick facing the open landscape, and a softer larch clad shell relating to the supported housing across the road. The brick and timber surfaces are visually separated by the stairs to the first floor.”

For the first phase of Todlaw supported living houses Oliver Chapman Architects worked with Scottish Borders Council, NHS Borders and Berwickshire Housing Association, to design 14 semi-detached houses and a shared services facility for people with disabilities.

All the houses are set out around a ‘tartan grid’, with some houses set back further from the road than the convention, whilst others are set close to the road edge.

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) has announced a Scottish shortlist of 17 buildings for the 2011 RIBA Awards.

David Dunbar, president of the RIAS, commented: “The Scottish submission to the UK’s most prestigious awards has, once again resulted in a fantastic shortlist.

“The judges will visit 17 varied projects, including housing, major conservation work, medical and education buildings and even performing arts provision.

“The architectural profession and the construction industry as a whole are under severe pressure but these awards demonstrate just how important good architecture is to the quality of peoples’ lives and to the wellbeing of Scotland’s economy.”

The other shortlisted buildings in Scotland include: Centre for the Scottish War Blinded, Kirknewton, Midlothian; Edinburgh Napier University; The Houl, Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway; John Hope Gateway, Royal Botanic garden, Edinburgh; McManus Galleries, Dundee; Pearce Street, Govan, Glasgow; Raasay Hall, Isle of Raasay; Scotstoun House, South Queensferry, Edinburgh; Scottish Ballet @ Tramway, Glasgow; Shettleston Housing Association Offices, Glasgow; Speirs Locks Studios, Glasgow; Stratheden Mental Health Unit, Cupar, Fife; Super Insulated House at Rosslyn, Roslin, Midlothian; Tigh-Na-Cladach (House by the Shore) Innellan, Dunoon; The West Centre; White House, Griffipol, Isle of Coll.

The judging panel for this year, chaired by architect George Ferguson CBE PPRIBA Hon FRIAS, also included RIAS president David Dunbar and Daphne Thissen, Cultural Attache, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Each regional jury is made up of a regional representative, a lay assessor from various disciplines and the jury chair, who is a nationally renowned architect.

They visit the shortlisted projects, talking to clients and users and assessing design excellence irrespective of style, size or complexity. The jury changes every year.

The RIBA Awards are among the most prestigious annual architectural awards in the UK. The awards are given for buildings that achieve the highest architectural standards and make a substantial contribution to the local environment

The jury’s decision will be made on May 19.