Progression of the second phase forms another key element of the award-winning new community positioned to the east of central Harlow in Essex
Sheppard Robson has completed 84 houses and 11 apartments as part of the second phase of the exemplar housing project, with another 144 dwellings by the architects expected to complete in the next year.
Designed for client Bellway Homes Ltd. in conjunction with landowners Newhall Projects Ltd., the brief called for a design that moved away from generic volume housing, creating a project that used high-quality architecture to build a new neighbourhood in this rural location.
In order to deliver a varied architectural language, Sheppard Robson’sscheme creates 11 different housing types – six of which are part of the completed first stage of the phase 2. All house types use a controlled palette of materials – characterised by a range of different style bricks, slates and timbers. These materials were based on a study of the colours and character of the local area, which formed a palette of materials that was devised by the client team and masterplanners and used through the whole development.
This centralised palette has helped create a sense of cohesion between the architectural styles whilst varying materials, style and sizes of houses caters for a wide demographic andhelps build an inclusive communitywith an interesting streetscape.
The house types,materiality andstreetscape also help articulate four distinct characters within the development. For example, the main thoroughfare (The Chase) is defined by large three-storey, robust brick townhouses whilst towards the edges of the development - which overlook the surrounding woodland - a softer palette of materials, such as timber, is used.
The built environment is animated through the inclusion of varying public spaces, ranging from the main street running through the development and open green areas to smaller intimate mews-style spaces. Sheppard Robson’s masterplan modified the existing framework (designed by Studio REAL),creating informal seating areas for residentsthat will be interconnected through a series of smaller cross-streets that also provide extra permeability to the woodland area to the north west of the site.
Alan Shingler, partner at Sheppard Robson, said:
“Now that a significant number of homes are complete, the architectural identity as well as sense of community is quickly taking shape.
“It’s satisfying to see the buildings being rooted within carefully considered green spaces, lending a civic feel that stitches the neighbourhood together.”