February 2016 marks another successful project delivery for brp architects following the completion of the flagship development for Seven Locks Housing in the centre of Market Harborough – a 67-unit independent living facility for older persons.
Built in 1986 the original design for Brooklands Gardens, a 49-unit sheltered housing scheme in the centre of Market Harborough, offered a combination of bed-sit accommodation and one bedroom flats – both of which were considered inappropriate for modern living standards. Together with the dated 1980’s interiors, small windows to the apartments and a basic provision of communal facilities it all contributed to a rather gloomy feel to the building.
The client brief required brp architects to undertake a significant re-modelling exercise to increase the number of units across the scheme as well as ensuring the residential apartments reflected the more contemporary style of open-plan living and introduced greater levels of natural light into the space via French doors and balconies. Externally the re-cladding of the elevations also helped update / improve the aesthetics of the building.
As part of the revised design an additional 18 apartments were incorporated into the scheme, raising the total number of units to 67 overall – a combination of one and two bedroom units. This was achieved by creating a physical link between Orchard House and Oak Tree House – originally separated by an external courtyard. Forging integration between the two blocks also enabled a new main entrance and communal ‘hub’ to be built at the centre of the site – thereby making the development not only more approachable but easier to navigate internally.
The £6m contract was awarded to Borras Construction who rose to the challenge of managing the phased construction period whilst some residents remained in occupation. The two-phased approach was necessary due to a shortage of other suitable vacant accommodation off-site, meaning a significant proportion of existing tenants had to stay in their original flats until they could be de-canted to their new accommodation. This not only presented logistical issues regarding the programming of the build but also imposed significant Health and Safety implications, i.e. the requirement for the site to be fully accessible for the elderly End User group at all times.
A well-considered design and strong collaboration between the Design Team, the Contractor, the Client and the End User ensured the project was a success and will hopefully be enjoyed.
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