Grover Close

Henley Halebrown Rorrison, Hemel Hempstead, 2008


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  • Location plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Third floor plan    
  • South elevation    
  • East elevation    
  • Section    
  • Model    
  • Diagram    
  • Dormer plan detail    
  • Dormer floor detail    

Residential development of one and two bedroom flats in four repeated and re-orientated housing blocks

A mix of two person, three person and four person flats and a mix of tenures: social rent, key worker rent and shared ownership for which different space standards apply. The tenure includes CASH (care assisted units for people with learning difficulties). The brief demanded that the density be maximised and that the design achieved EcoHomes rating Very Good (to secure funding), with 10 per cent renewables.

The scheme redevelops the site of four pairs of semi-detached houses in a 1950s suburb. Although high density, with 140 dwellings per hectare, an underground car park allows more of the landscape to be used for amenities. The arrangement of blocks creates forecourts and rear courtyard gardens marking out clear defensible space.

The blocks vary in height and each stands on a different contour. Their varied height, position and roof-form (butterfly roofs conceal solar thermal heating panels) create a continually changing roof line. Inside each 18m x 18m block there are four flats per floor. Each has a central hall and each is accessible from the car park below ground.

The blocks are clad on two elevations in brickwork, the other two in vertical painted Thermowood. The building is constructed using load bearing cavity walls with precast concrete floors and a timber-rafter roof.


  • Begun: May 2007
  • Completed: Nov 2008
  • Floor area: 4,590m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £6.6M
  • Funding: Hightown Praetorian & Churches Housing Association
  • Procurement: NEC Construction Management - no main contractor
  • CO2 Emissions: 28kg/m2/year
  • Address: Grover Close, Hemel Hempstead, HP2 5, United Kingdom

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