Planning permission granted for Ushida Findlay Architects' unique eco-residence
Ushida Findlay Architects (UFA) and Holmes are celebrating after receiving planning permission to build a unique eco-friendly residence for five branches of a single family. This marks a potent recovery for the firm who received a devastating blow earlier this year when their famous 'starfish' design country home was scrapped in favour of a contemporary manor home in Chester, UK.
The Edinburgh-based architects had been the winners of a 2001 RIBA competition to discover a country-home design for the 21st Century. Set to be based at the Grafton New Hall site in Chester, the design failed to receive any sales interest and was replaced by the more traditional design by Robert Adam Architects.
This latest success, however, represents a move forward for UFA who have combined lessons learned in the starfish design with further innovations employed in projects such as the Truss Wall House in Japan.
Park Houses' design features an undulating green roof linking five individual homes and shared family leisure facilities, subtly integrating them with the surrounding landscape and ecology. The buildings have four storeys, three above ground level, with a footprint that covers approximately 2600 sq m of the 6,700 sq m site.
The planning permission is the culmination of extensive work that encompassed detailed research into sustainability, bio-diversity and carbon emission reduction by Kathryn Findlay's practice research unit, Fieldwork, at the University of Dundee, with senior lecturer Doug Allard and students. Buro Happold's Generative Geometry Unit and Ramboll Whitbybird also collaborated with UFA, providing expertise in the modeling and environmental design of the multi-home residence.
The project embraces sustainable design, with provisions for natural light, solar power and locally sourced materials. Strips of indigenous plants, set within furrows in the roof, will flourish to merge the building with the landscape, and attract local flora and fauna to the site.
Given the recent difficulties faced by UFA it is unsurprising that they sought help to deliver planning for the site which had existing planning permission for four separate new homes and the renovation of an existing one. They garnered this aid from Harry Phillips at Holmes Partnership in Glasgow.
Kathryn Findlay says: "My design has evolved through the application of in-depth research and extensive collaboration with experts in several fields. It is quite a feat to get planning for such an unusual building but we achieved it because everyone was meticulous in their work and we presented an application that addressed all aspects of the site, the building and its successful realization. I look forward to moving into the construction phase."
Niki May Young