Roffey Homes invited LCE to prepare 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 sinuous Road that links Brighton Road and the sea with Lyndhurst Road. Both the layout and the building draw their inspiration from the Conservation Area. Retaining the character of the streetscape, the building is set forward in its plot and yet far enough back from the pavement to give the streets their broad open aspect. The generous green verges between road and pavement are retained 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 also categorised by several larger 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. In the circumstances we felt it important to incorporate a modern interpretation of the corner feature into the new proposal, 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 reflects the design principles of the surrounding buildings using a contemporary ‘language’ that is both subtle in terms of the detailing and materials and sympathetic to the local area, which in many cases have already been incorporated into the features of the St John’s Ambulance HQ but, also include soldier coursing above window heads and patterned brickwork which we have used to emphasise the entrance on the façade.