Plastic free housing for Somerset

Sustainable housing scheme near Chard

OCR Architecture were pleased to continue our relationship with Coreus for a small scale development in a village on the outskirts of Chard. The applicant, has a vested interest in coming forward with a scheme which establishes itself well, and sets a benchmark for the local area as this site is intended to be a benchmark for all future developments. It aims to minimise visual impact for the benefit of both the local community and visitors alike. Consideration of the location has led to a landscape led approach which places emphasis on the topography, surface and boundary treatments, visual screening and the careful placement of dwellings to reduce the visual impact as far as reasonably practicable. On a micro level, this dually shapes the feeling within the site; aiming to create a pleasant, healthy environment which is a desirable place to live for reasons other than simply house design.

The 8 core design principles which underpin the scheme have been illustrated to depict the rationale which has been applied in formulating the scheme. Realising key areas of focus from the outset , to then adhere to these throughout ensure design decisions are made contributing to a holistic, consistent and considered approach.

The design principles

Some have also formed from early ambitions which we felt were advantageous to aim for to maximise the potential of the scheme.

1. Retention of landscape. Keep what is good about the site, the natural screening and biodiversity is to be added too not stripped away.
2. Additional landscape screening. Where the site can accommodate it, layer up the natural screening to provide enhanced bio diversity. The natural screening will help to protect views and embed the houses on the site
3. Waterways retained. Although minor in size these water routes are valuable natural highways and should be protected.
4. Sustainable design. Ensure that the design and construction of the units are highly sustainable and will encourage and support sustainable living.
5. Natural Spatial Zoning: Using landscape features to subtly and naturally zone the site section and define user priority
6. Working with the topography: Terracing the site incrementally retains the sloping character of the site, and using the spoil to form the Devon hedge banks avoids soil removal and mass regrading which would permanently alter the landscape.
7. Mixed housing tenure & typologies: Attracts a mixed demographic for a rich, diverse community
8. Landscaped Boundaries: natural defining ownership boundaries aims to weave features synonymous of the surrounding rural area into the site, again, avoiding harsh lines and boundaries.

Sustainable led

The building concept has been approached to ensure a circular design philosophy so that the land entrusted to us as designers is in as good or better position when we hand it back.
The designs will follow the Coreus Plastic Free Home design (trademark currently pending) where all materials forming the major elements of each dwelling will be plastic free. The removal of plastic from the dwellings will be considered carefully for each element to ensure that the carbon footprint of the dwellings remain as low as reasonably possible. In order to measure the carbon footprint of each dwelling a life cycle assessment will be undertaken, and all alternative plastic free materials will be assessed using these methods.
This hope is that the site will be the first of its kind in the UK designing for a plastic free home and would be considered a flagship development for the construction methods.

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