Roffey Homes requested a design for 30 new sheltered apartments on the site of a 1970’s block originally designed as nurse’s accommodation. We undertook a detailed analysis of the character of the Conservation Area to identify an appropriate contemporary architectural response to the site.
The site occupies a strategic corner site on the northern entrance into the small but distinct Farncombe Road Conservation Area, named after the curved road that links Brighton Road and the sea with Lyndhurst Road. Both the layout and the building draw their inspiration from the Conservation Area. The building is set forward in its plot and yet far enough back from the pavement to give the streets their broad open aspect, retaining the character of the streetscape. The generous green verges between road and pavement are maintained, and the building sits behind existing mature trees, which occur throughout the area. The low boundary wall of boulder-flints with red-brick bandings and piers that have survived the 1970s development are retained.
The Conservation Area is categorised by several more significant footprint buildings, which makes it easier to insert a new building into the existing fabric of the area, and more importantly, by buildings that turn the corner. Under the circumstances, we felt it essential to incorporate a modern interpretation of the corner feature into the new proposal. In doing so, to reflect the St John’s Ambulance HQ on the opposite corner, along with other features such as the proportion of the large bay, the horizontal banding and the stone-clad reveals which we have inserted into the two principal façades.
Equally, the detail of the proposed building aims to reflect the design principles of the surrounding buildings, using a contemporary ‘language’ that is both subtle in terms of the detailing and materials that are sympathetic to the local area.