Challender Court and Suffolk Close, Bristol

Emmett Russell Architects, Bristol, 2018

 

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Suffolk Close is located on a site bordered by a railway line to the north and a main drainage route to the south 

Craig Aukland/Fotohaus     Download Original

  • Suffolk Close is located on a site bordered by a railway line to the north and a main drainage route to the south    
  • Suffolk Close is defined by pale brickwork    
  • Bungalows at Suffolk Close    
  • A powder-coated finish articulates steel balconies, entrances and window frames    
  • View from Challender Close    
  • The balconies, bike stores and entrance canopies form a language of metal projections that articulate the front of the building and provide privacy to residents    
  • Challender Court’s site is sandwiched between the rear gardens of the houses to the north and south    
  • Inside a Challender Close residence    
  • Kitchen area at Challender Close    
  • Challender Court site plan, floor plans and section AA    
  • Suffolk Close floor plans and section AA    
  • Challender Court detail section    
  • Suffolk Close detail section    

Local practice Emmett Russell Architects has created Passivhaus-standard social housing on two small infill sites in Bristol.

Suffolk Close provides three bungalows and Challender Court provides eight one-bedroom flats. The key challenge was to make efficient use of these tight sites while avoiding any overlooking to neighbouring properties. Challender Court’s site is sandwiched between the rear gardens of the houses to the north and south, and has resulted in an elongated run of two storeys of one-bedroom flats. Suffolk Close proved more challenging, located on a site bordered by a railway line to the north and a main drainage route to the south, which have pushed the three two-bedroom bungalows to the site’s centre.

The developments are built to Passivhaus standards and use MVHR units. At Challender Court, a parking area has been placed directly at the entrance, to minimise vehicular traffic along the block’s frontage where a gently crooked route lined with bin stores leads down to a single garage, which it was necessary to retain, and a small landscaped area. The little ‘street’ that this creates packs in many subtleties. A minor landscaped wedge separates it from a straight, pedestrian scaled-route, where the sustainable drainage system (SUDS) cuts a tiny channel in front of the housing block. This is crossed by rather symbolic ‘bridges’ that lead to each of the communal entrances. These are defined by two steel boxes: one above providing a balcony for the upper flat, and one to the right for bicycle storage, which are separated between each entrance by another landscaped patch.

Suffolk Close employs a similar sequence. A parking area at the site’s entrance gives way to a green space, marked by an existing tree and bordered by a fence, directly behind which lies the railway line. The bungalow block is tucked into a small ‘U’ defined by the existing housing, with a ‘folded’ elevation to the south responding to the main drainage route. The same sequence of SUDS channel, bridge and entrance block is repeated here, only with each bungalow’s pitched frontage giving more of a distinct sense of where each property ends and begins.

The project brief was for new housing that was robust and low-maintenance. The construction is based around a prefabricated timber-frame cassette system with factory fitted insulation. A further layer of cavity insulation is fixed outside the frame to minimise cold bridging and bring the U-value for the walls down to 0.12 W/m2 K. This layer forms part of a wrap of continuous insulation around the building structure. The exterior is formed by a skin of brickwork, tied with thermally separating ties, which provides a robust maintenance-free finish.

Data

  • Begun: Apr 2016
  • Completed: Jan 2018
  • Floor area: 719m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • CO2 Emissions: 12.65kg/m2/year
  • Address: Challender Court, Bristol, BS10 7FS, United Kingdom

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