Overlooking Brighton, the scheme is a stunning development of one, two and three bedroom apartments with 55 shared ownership and 45 affordable rented homes.
The site is located in an elevated position and gives views over Brighton, the Downs and the sea. The adjacent hospital building is listed and is considered a landmark building in the City.
The site was the subject of a bid competition in 2007 and SHG, with a proposal for affordable housing prepared by Miller Bourne Architects, was selected as the developer.
The client brief required high quality, spacious flats to achieve Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4, with a mix of one, two and three bed units to Lifetime Home Standards, plus units designed for wheelchair users. Planning policy required a children’s play area, residents’ amenity areas and retention of a number of trees on site.
The site includes a change in level of 12m from the SE to NW corners and, while this afforded good opportunities to maximise views, it provided a challenge to give level access throughout the site. Large Victorian hospital buildings to the East and two storey housing to the South and West also influenced massing.
Early designs achieved very good levels of natural light in flats, with a double aspect provided in the majority of one bedroom units and all larger units and economy was achieved by limiting core areas and the resulting number of stairs and lifts. The result was a typical floor plan grouping eight flats at each floor level, served by a single stair and two lifts.
Three separate blocks were arranged on the site, with heights between three and six storeys and level access was achieved by snaking the access route from the SW corner down to the lowest point, where the children’s play area is located in the NW corner.
Each block has a communal heating system, is served by an array of photovoltaics at roof level and each flat has a large private balcony in addition to roof level amenity areas. Secure internal cycle stores are located in each block, along with refuse and recycling facilities.
There is a generous central square and this area, together with double height entrance lobbies to each block, is provided with an art installation lighting scheme, funded by the client through Brighton’s Percent for Art initiative.
The site is very exposed and the client was keen to agree architect’s proposal to use Terracotta rainscreen cladding externally, to provide a durable, low maintenance and self-cleaning external finish above a robust plinth of local stock brick as a measure to protect the terracotta from incidental damage.
Planning Approval was granted in August 2010 for 95 flats and construction took place between January 2012 and May 2014.