This development of inner city housing apartments was the enabling works for the Open Market, a new European style covered market adjacent to the London Road in Brighton. It’s arrangement adheres to, and stitches into, the existing urban grain and interlocks with the redevelopment of the Open Market.
The residential component of the scheme is arranged in two zones either side of the market. The principle zone centres on the existing Francis Street where the original Victorian terraces had been demolished in 1968. The design of the new street has been designed on the lines of a traditional mews, with “garage” doors on one side with unloading bays behind giving direct access to the adjacent Open Market.
In developing the design of this street, LCE adopted many of the Woonerf principles developed in Holland in the 1970s, based on the thinking put forward by Colin Buchanan in the UK in his report of 1963 “Traffic in Towns”. This is a shared street system based on integration with an emphasis on the community and the residential user with a physical design ensuring that drivers are placed in an inferior position. Pedestrians are able to use the full width of the street, “Woonerf” literally translated as a “residential yard”.
The frontages of the terraces are very much categorised by the willowing bay windows that grow out of the facades, echoing vertically the saw tooth roof of the new Open Market, and giving directional views down the street both east and west, whilst also providing additional privacy across what is a narrow Victorian street.
The southern terrace is three storeys in height with strategic gaps at first and second floors to maintain daylight and outlook for existing residential properties to the rear of Oxford St and provide first floor amenity gardens. The northern terrace, in the centre of the new development and backing onto the market (with views across the market roof from 2nd floor upwards) responding in scale from the small scale of Ditchling Road to the huge scale of the Grade 1 listed St Bartholomew’s Church on the far side of London Road.
The design was very much influenced by protection of the views to the Church, the Rights to Light of many of the surrounding properties and the sunlight/daylight issues of both existing and proposed dwellings.