Starworks is a nine-unit residential scheme at Stoke Row, South Oxfordshire. Founded as a saw-mill around 1900, Starworks has seen continuous use as an industrial premises to the present day. The 1.9ha site is currently occupied by two houses - Star and Mill Cottages - as well as a marketing / exhibition business. Planning consent for Star and Mill cottages was obtained by JPA in 2008, with consent for change of use from B1 commercial use to residential granted in February 2012 after lengthy negotiations with planners.
The brief for Starworks began with the client asking for the design to be ‘modern - but not just a box…’. The houses, arranged to follow the principle of a small hamlet, range in size from two to five bedroooms. One of the key design challenges was how to deal with pitched roofs in a contemporary way, without resort to pastiche. The roofs are therefore envisioned as a flat plane that are then folded. This provides a tension between the geometric volumes of the houses sitting beneath a floating, folding roof. The roofs are black zinc, which alludes to the more traditional slate.
In order to minimise overlooking and maintain privacy between adjacent properties, timber louvres are provided to first floor habitable rooms. These are tilted to maintain views to the sky and maximise the admittance of daylight, whilst preventing views into adjacent garden areas.
All house types are tied to dividing garden walls by a carport roof. Two storey walls that contain the houses interlock with single storey walls and are in an off-white Sto render finish. To the garden side, cedar boarding forms infill panels and windows are in grey aluminium clad timber. Each house is then anchored to the ground by means of a large chimney.