Let the Festivities Begin!
We are starting to feel festive. We have started our virtual office advent calendar today.
Here’s a gratuitously cute photo of the first grateful recipient!
We are starting to feel festive. We have started our virtual office advent calendar today.
Here’s a gratuitously cute photo of the first grateful recipient!
During the special measures to manage COVID-19, the practice is not closed. We are still open for business and we’d love to hear from you about your forthcoming projects – please do get in touch.
Following government advice, most of our team are working remotely. You can still contact us, please call 0207 620 6255 or email email@example.com
We are delighted to see construction works start at Beauchamp Park, Warwick. To mark the occasion, senior representatives from our client L&Q, gathered for a socially distanced ground-breaking ceremony.
We produced the Reserved Matters architectural design for Beauchamp Park – consisting of 450 new homes, set around the Castle Vista, looking toward Warwick Castle. There will be a wide range of homes, a large proportion of which will be affordable tenures.
The South Oxhey Initiative is a £150 million mixed-use regeneration project by Three Rivers District Council in partnership with Countryside Properties and Home Group. This Initiative is revitalising the heart of South Oxhey town centre. The project will deliver over 500 new homes, alongside 55,000sft of town centre uses including a food store.
This project has been an exciting collaboration involving many talented people, working alongside residents, a wide range of community organisations and local businesses. We were delighted to hear that this transformational project has been recognised – as a regional finalist in the LABC Building Excellence Awards.
We have helped ENGIE to develop a fabric-first, one-stop-shop approach to decentralise, digitalise and decarbonise homes; offering our clients a viable solution to future proof their housing stock and meet the 2050 UK target. We are part of the team behind the delivery. This photo is of our design for MOAT in Maldon, Essex.
Existing housing stock poses a greater risk to the UK’s net zero carbon targets than new homes or developments, so this programme will contribute to a greener future. ENGIE is committed to supporting clients’ to navigate this ambitious journey through innovative zero carbon turn-key solutions.
Phase 3 of Orchards Green, Ely, Cambridgeshire has just been approved at planning committee. The scheme will deliver 258 new homes, inspired by the historic cathedral city of Ely.
GSA assisted the Taylor Wimpey team with urban design advice and presentation material. The proposals form an attractive extension to the city. Appropriate, locally-inspired housing typologies, streetscape, site-specific materials and planting palette reinforce legibility and identity.
It’s great to see piling progressing on site at Addiscombe Road in the heart of Croydon Town Centre. It’s an intricate business – given the urban setting and the need to protect this lovely mature oak tree.
This scheme for L&Q comprises of an 8-storey mansion block onto the street, with a setback 18-storey tower element, containing 137 high quality new homes. A high proportion of which are affordable tenures.
We are delighted to receive planning approval for our EnergieSprong retrofit design for 8 affordable homes across a series of sites in the London Borough of Sutton. Our designs will alleviate the cold, damp internal living conditions, and consequently high energy bills, that residents currently experience.
EnergieSprong is an approach to housing regeneration and refurbishment using sustainable and practical principles for whole-house retrofit to create desirable, warm, affordable & healthy homes for life.
Our designs for the transformation of the Vange Water Works, Fobbing have been submitted to Thurrock Borough Council, for Bellway Homes. The planning application comprises 178 homes inspired by the local Essex vernacular. A mix of 2, 3 & 4 bed family houses, and 1 & 2 bed apartments, including 4 no wheelchair user flats.
Nearly half the site area is designed as open space, including a new play area, SuDS, and rich habitats themed around the existing water features. The previous use of the site as a water works & covered reservoir have inspired the contouring of the landscape & the new character areas: the ‘Brook’ next to the Village Green, the ‘Island’ & the Lanes.
All 1,015 new homes at Oakgrove Village, Milton Keynes are completed and occupied now. Our designs for Crest Nicholson transformed the residential market. The development has a unique sense of place - from the entrance gateway with a sweeping crescent of contemporary houses, the thriving neighbourhood centre to the distinctive Ouzel Island.
Our masterplan creates a series of landscape characters – parkland, wildlife corridor (supporting newts and aquatic plants), through to intimate leafy lanes and courtyards. All homes enjoy an attractive, green outlook.
We were delighted to hear that two of our housing schemes are shortlisted for the Housing Design Awards. They are both set within distinctive and high quality landscaping, delivering a mix of both houses and apartments. They both create a strong sense of place, yet they are quite different in character.
Beauchamp Park, Warwick (left) sits within view of the historic landscape surrounding Warwick Castle. It combines MMC whilst extending the romantic setting of the castle. Whereas Croxton & Garry, Ebbsfleet (right) forms part of a contemporary garden city, regenerating this former industrial area of Kent.
Our design responds to this diverse town centre context, in particular Grade II* Listed St Nicholas Church. The resulting development of 276 homes and town-centre uses - rising to 11 & 18 storeys is considered to be of an exceptional design quality by LB Sutton planners, setting a high benchmark for future development in the town-centre.
"Our urban design studies explored how the area could evolve over time. It was vital that we enhanced the setting of the church and re-connected it visually and physically back to the High St. The benefits to the wider regeneration of the civic quarter of central Sutton were supported by the planners." - Manoher Matharu, Director
We have been enjoying our daily health walks during this sunny weather. We hope that those who are living in our completed masterplans are enjoying the open spaces and parks that give them a strong sense of place.
(Clockwise form left - Beaulieu, Chelmsford; Mile End Park, London & Park Central, Birmingham)
We were at Futurebuild in London this week, telling people about our innovative retrofit designs for Mundon Rd, Maldon and Treadgold House, West London.
Energiesprong is a revolutionary, whole house refurbishment and new build standard and funding approach. We are working with Energiesprong UK - to scale the approach for the UK. An Energiesprong retrofit has the very best energy standard available, it uses the money that would normally be paid on energy bills and maintenance to pay for the works.
We were happy to host this session of the Young Practitioner’s Network. Director Manoher Matharu was the first of a series of diverse and interesting speakers offering perspectives on the challenges facing London in the next 5-50 years.
This session posed some big questions, provoking a broad range of discussions. There were lots of great ideas for future-proofing the city. The conclusion? This is a critical time – joined-up thinking is required.
GSA with Bow Tie Construction, Mauer UK and Nilan UK have been announced as a winner of the EnergieSprong UK competition to design net zero energy retrofit apartments. GSA are one of the UK’s leading EnergieSprong architects having delivered a successful pilot project in Maldon, Essex.
John will be joining Bow Tie and Energiesprong UK at Futurebuild at London’s ExCel on March 4th. If you would like to meet with him – please get in contact.
Ebbsfleet Garden City will get a further 221 homes after plans were approved for our design produced for Bellway Homes. The new scheme is next door to our successful masterplan for Ingress Park.
Mark Pullin, Chief Planning Officer with Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, said: “Bellway has worked very closely with us to achieve what we believe is a good quality scheme fitting of a 21st Century Garden City as well as going beyond planning requirements as it looks towards a more sustainable future.”
We are pleased to announce some recent promotions. John Pratley becomes Associate Director, in recognition of the innovative Passivhaus and Energiesprong schemes that John has brought to the practice. John has 25 years of experience delivering projects from masterplan all the way through to delivery on site.
Mike Panayi, Jonathan Head and Hannah Shopland will join the Management Group as Associates. In addition Karmjit Sohal, Adam Hewgill and Tora Bickford-Sawkings have been promoted to Senior Architect, recognising their expertise, experience and years of service at the practice.
Birnam Mews is a collection of 60 family homes in the verdant village of Tiddington, Warwickshire, just outside Stratford-upon-Avon, has been shortlisted for Best Family Home in the First Time Buyer Awards. The eco-friendly development is built around traditional family-friendly street-scenes, interspersed with garden squares.
the development for L&Q offers 10 different layouts and designs, from one-bedroom quarter houses to detached four-bedroom family homes, Birnam Mews offers the unique mix of housing to create the true community feel that families seek.
Beaulieu, Chelmsford, Essex is nominated in the Best Large Development category of the First Time Buyer Readers’ Awards. Set in former hunting grounds of King Henry VIII, the vision for Beaulieu was to create a vibrant new integrated community for the city of Chelmsford, bringing together 3,600 quality new homes.
The homes are designed around 180 acres of green open spaces, ranging from formal parks, village greens and community gardens to natural meadows plus an orchard. These green open spaces connect the new Beaulieu neighbourhoods and give residents a wealth of choice for outdoor activities, improving their health and well-being.
South Oxhey Central is nominated as Best Urban Regeneration project in the First Time Buyer Readers’ Awards. A £172m mixed-use regeneration scheme by Countryside and Home Group, in partnership with Three Rivers District Council, that is currently transforming the existing town centre and three unused sites into a modern and vibrant hub.
A rejuvenated retail area - Station Approach, which is fully let, is bringing local shops and trade back to the area, while Countryside is also creating employment and training opportunities for local people in construction. We created friendly, safe and well-overlooked streets and public spaces, designed according to Secured by Design principles.
Good article by Jo Smit in the RIBA Journal. Jo's article looks at ways in which the construction industry is building expertise & finding solutions that promote retrofit. Read about our projects at Wilmcote House & Mundon Road, Maldon, where we are collaborating with Engie.
The homes in Maldon (owned by Moat Housing) are the first in the UK to use the Energiesprong system to enhance energy performance.
Our scheme for Bellway at Devonshire Place is progressing well on site. Located next to romantically named open spaces such as Lions Gorge, Chafford Gorges Nature Park & Grays Chalk Quarry Nature Park, recognising the area’s industrial past, the development will transform a former quarrying and industrial area of the town.
The development delivers 102 new homes - a mix of 2,3 and 4 bedroom houses and 1 and 2 bed flats. We worked hard with the Bellway team to turn around the planning application in just 2 months.
25yrs ago, as a young graduate, Graham Kime began work at the practice, little suspecting that 21yrs later, with 3 colleagues, he would have completed an MBO and be running the company. The year that Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa, a cease-fire was declared in NI, the channel tunnel opened, & Sony introduced the playstation.
“Back then I had long hair, big dreams and the youthful naivety that I could make a difference. The architectural profession has changed so much in the past 25 years. My hair has receded from 3ft long to a mere stubble… but I still like to think that we are making a difference!”
2020 marks the beginning of a new decade – a time of great change, but full of possibilities. We are looking forward to the opportunities and design challenges that lie ahead.
Looking Back On 2019 we have been privileged to work on some very exciting and rewarding projects. Thank you to everyone who worked with us and supported us throughout the year.
Wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy new year from everyone at GSA! Our festive artwork is designed by Bryce Henden and Mauro Mosca, showing our office on Blackfriars Road.
This year our office is closes at 5.30pm on Friday 20th December, re-opening on Thursday January 2nd 2020.
Philip Lyons, chief executive at Countryside discusses how to provide successful environments for flourishing communities in this month’s edition of Housebuilder. He uses Beaulieu, Chelmsford as one of his best practice case studies. He describes how public art has been used to create character and identity, & foster a sense of community pride.
The landscape-led masterplan for Beaulieu surrounds one of King Henry VIII’s former palaces. The public art strategy draws upon this theme. Image Credits – Countryside.
We are delighted to be successfully admitted to the Places For People Consultants Framework DPS. Places For People’s vision is to create places that work for everyone. Places that work now and in the future. It’s their mission to build sustainable communities that are for everyone, whatever their background and whatever their needs.
Places For People have been placemaking for over 50 years. We have also been have been placemakers for nearly as long – over 40 years.
Our Mindenhurst team enjoyed a site visit this week to see the fruits of their labours – the award winning first phase of the Deepcut Barracks redevelopment for CALA Homes.
A bit of a grey day but the buildings are beautifully finished and it’s all coming together to create a fantastic place to live. Parcel M1 is now nearly complete (79 homes, all sold) and work continues on M2 to the east (136 homes).
Associate John Pratley attended the book launch at the RIBA of EnerPHit: A Step by Step Guide to Low Energy Retrofit by James Traynor.
John led the detail design and delivery stage of Wilmcote House, Portsmouth for Portsmouth City Council. This is an Enerphit Passivhaus retrofit project featured in the book.
Our design for Tattenhoe Park Phase 3 in Milton Keynes, for Crest Nicholson, has received planning approval under delegated powers. The scheme will deliver 117 new homes in the south-west of the town, in the last of the Grid Squares forming the original town plan.
The design process involved meeting with both Milton Keynes Council and Homes England (the landowners), to ensure that the design meets both current and the future needs of the town. The scheme was designed to enable MMC delivery.
It’s a little project, with a BIG influence! Last week our energy-saving Energiesprong retrofit project with Moat Homes & Engie at Mundon Road, Maldon won another award – Energy Awards – Residential Project of the year.
This scheme offers is a whole house retrofit - so that heat demand is massivley reduced, and guaranteed for 30 years - which tackles fuel poverty. Mundon Rd is one of the 1st examples in the UK.
Our design for CALA Homes at Mindenhurst has won the Best New Homes Development for 13+ Homes at the Surrey Property Awards. Parcel 2B is the 1st residential phase of the masterplan for the redevelopment of the Princess Royal Barracks, Deepcut. It delivers 215 homes from 1 - 2 bedroom apartments to 5 bedroom houses.
This is a landscape led layout, incorporating attractive existing mature trees, creating a strong sense of place and providing a setting that is appropriate to the woodland character. The open spaces in this phase form part of a strong framework of green infrastructure that runs throughout the masterplan.
We are pleased to see the new coffee shop opening in Station Square, South Oxhey, Hertfordshire. It really animates the space leading down to Carpenders Park Overground Station. This little building is triangular in shape because it sits between the lines of major infrastructure (such as power cables and sewers) that lie beneath the square itself.
This is part of our competition-winning masterplan to regenerate the town centre, produced for Countryside, Home Group and Three Rivers District Council.
We have given our backing to AJ (Architects Journal) Retro First. The campaign calls on the government to promote and incentivise the reuse of existing buildings in the face of the climate emergency. It asks for government action to encourage greater use of retrofit and refurbishment in three key areas: tax, procurement and policy.
We have recently been working on a number of residential and commercial retrofit and refurbishment projects in London, Stevenage, Dartford and Maldon, Essex.
Following on from our success in joining the L&Q London framework, we are pleased to also be named as one of the successful practices to reach the London and Quadrant (L&Q) Counties architecture framework. The framework will run from 2019 to 2021 – delivering high quality homes outside London.
This is Beauchamp Park, Warwick – which will deliver 450 new homes, set around a linear garden with views to Warwick Castle. At least half of the homes will be affordable. We have successfully gained planning approval under delegated powers.
Our team having lots of fun trying out Virtual & Augmented Reality software with ACTIU. A very enjoyable CPD looking at different presentation techniques that can help our clients to visualize the projects whilst they are at the ‘drawing board’ stage (and yes - we do still do some hand drawings on drawing boards!).
We hope there is a virtual caretaker to tidy up the furniture within the model we used. It looks like we had a party - lots of furniture scattered all over the place! The team are exciting about the prospect of bringing this technology to our projects.
We're over the moon to hear of another awards nomination for our energy-saving retrofit project with Moat Homes & Engie. This retrofit project led by Associate John Pratley is really making a difference to the residents whose homes have been refurbished.
It's been shortlisted for the Building Innovation Awards - Most Innovative Building Project.
Great to see Beaulieu Square featuring on primetime TV. It appeared on the One Show last week. This view is of the new Community Centre that we designed, facing onto a public square (designed by Randall Thorp).
The Neighbourhood Centre forms the main entrance gateway for a mixed-use development containing 3,500 new homes, on the edge of Chelmsford.
The National Design Guide has just been published. It illustrates how well-designed places that are beautiful, enduring and successful can be achieved in practice. The aim is “to end ugly development”.
The design guide would be a material consideration in planning applications and appeals, with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to be updated to reflect this ‘at the first opportunity’. On page 32 our design for Beaulieu, Chelmsford is shown as a positive example.
Mundon Road, Maldon has just picked up another award! It was a winner at the National Energy Efficiency Awards – a celebration of building innovations and initiatives to create greener, smarter homes.
The project involved working in partnership with Moat Homes and Engie. It has transformed the energy efficiency of existing homes by developing the Energiesprong low carbon retrofit system to suit the UK.
We are delighted to be named as one of the successful practices to reach the London and Quadrant (L&Q) Housing Trust architecture framework. The framework will run from 2019 to 2021 and is expected to involve £10-£50 million worth of housing projects, including new builds, refurbishments, masterplanning and mixed-use developments.
This illustration is of the scheme for Addiscombe Rd, Croydon – which will deliver 137 new homes, at least half of which will be affordable. We have successfully gained planning approval, and we are currently working on the technical packages with L&Q.
It's September but we really couldn’t have asked for better weather and a better setting for our annual practice visit. This year we enjoyed the sights of Cambridge.
Our tour conducted by foot and by punt, covered distinctive architecture from historic to contemporary. It should inspire us in our forthcoming work.
Director Graham Kime found some hidden treasure when tidying up recently – an urban sketchbook featuring hand drawings by our founder Francis Tibbalds. Drawn between 1977 – 88. The sketches feature vibrant cities from across the world.
This is an aerial view of Trafalgar Square, London. Which also contains our former office on Charing Cross Road. The sketches were done primarily for enjoyment. We definitely enjoy viewing them!
We love to see buildings we designed in use. At Mile End Park, East London, the Ecology Pavilion has been in use for community events for two decades.
Here is a photo from a recruitment event to attract people interested in working in construction, held in partnership with TFL, the Mayor of London and several housing associations including Swan, Clarion, Peabody, L&Q, Southern Housing Group, One Housing, Gateway Housing Association, Spittalfields Housing Association & Notting Hill Genesis.
L&Q has joined forces with environmental campaigners to boost local wildlife at Birnam Mews, Tiddington. Co-founders of Hedgehog Friendly Town and the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, visited the site to give their specialist hedgehog support and advice to L&Q’s site team.
L&Q has pledged to maintain hoardings and a green buffer around the site, to ensure the safety and protection of the existing wildlife habitat during the construction phase. Once work has been completed, they will install hedgehog friendly fencing to allow local hedgehogs safe passage through the development by avoiding the roads.
Our masterplan & architectural design for 102 homes & community hub at Royal Hill Park, Redhill features in The Developer. This is a joint venture between RNIB & Countryside on a greenbelt site with challenging topography. We worked closely with the client and stakeholders to achieve successful planning approval across 2 local authorities.
Our design features a range of specialist & open market homes, with a generous public realm incorporating a sensory trail that assists wayfinding & creates a rich sensory experience for visually impaired and sighted residents. The sensitively restored listed Tudor House will be transformed into a community hub.
GSA’s design proposals for the latest phase of Loves Farm, St. Neots, Cambridgeshire have received reserved matters planning approval under delegated powers. GSA were the lead consultant working with L&Q, one of the UK’s leading housing associations and residential developers. The plans are for 41 new homes.
Our design creates a strong frontage onto Cambridge Rd, of linked pairs of 3 storey townhouses, finished off by 3 storey apartment blocks at either corner. On the other side of the site is a row of family houses fronting onto the Fox Brook green space, create a softer edge. In the centre of the site is an attractive, contemporary mews.
A naming ceremony, honouring three much-loved local figures, has taken place at South Oxhey Central. The apartment blocks are located within the 1st phase of the town centre regeneration, consisting of 514 new homes & 55,000 sqft+ of commercial space.
"While we look to the future, we always celebrate the past and recognising these people that have done so much for the area is extremely important in achieving this.” - Mike Woolliscroft, Managing Director, Partnerships South (West), Countryside
The annual Stewartby Fest Fun Day was held at the Stewartby Village Hall and the Village Green. We went along – part of the Bedford Brickworks team, to tend the stall where local residents could stop by for an informal progress update on current planning application for Stewartby Brickworks.
We encouraged suggestions for what community and commercial uses should be included within the future District Centre. Alongside shops, cafes & health centre, a swimming pool or lido was a popular suggestion! The event was a great success. We estimate well in excess of 100 people stopped by to discuss the proposals throughout the day.
The pioneering Energiesprong approach to get UK homes up to net zero energy standard has won a 1st prize in the UK Sustainable Buildings category of the 2019 Ashden Awards. Asssessors applauded Energiesprong’s potential to radically cut carbon from the UK’s housing stock by refurbishing older hard to heat homes, both faster and in higher numbers.
They also noted Energiesprong’s progress including the rollout of Energiesprong retrofit to homes including our project in Maldon, Essex for Moat Homes. Ashden commented: “Energiesprong holds huge promise because it can scale. With industrialisation, costs come down, retrofits get faster & further quality gains become possible."
Here are progress photos of our Energiesprong retrofit pilot project at Mundon Road in Maldon, Essex, for Moat Homes / Engie. This project demonstrates that the external envelope of the existing housing stock can be upgraded to achieve significantly better energy performance.
Energiesprong is a finalist at two prestigious Awards events this summer: the Ashden Awards in London and the EU Sustainable Energy Week Awards in Brussels.
Royal Hill Park, Redhill for the RNIB & Countryside appears in this month’s ADF magazine. The article describes how the redevelopment of the site has allowed the RNIB upgrade their facilities and gives their clients opportunities to live more independently within an integrated community, creating an attractive and inclusive environment.
“Our aim is to create a stimulating sensory environment for all residents. At the end of the day people are going to live here – it’s got to feel like home.” – Manoher Matharu, GSA Director. Image credit – Countryside Properties
We were delighted to see this photo of Oakgrove Village, Milton Keynes appear on Twitter – part of a Milton Keynes Council and the Academy of Urbanism cycle tour.
To find out more about our masterplan design….
Take a look in today’s Evening Standard Homes & Property section. Our design for Phase 2 of the South Oxhey Central development was included in a feature on homes located near London Overground stations.
It’s well located next to Carpenders Park Station with access to Euston Station in less than 40 minutes. Plus good local shops and amenities. The new Station Square is already open for business. Image credit - Countryside.
Beaulieu, Chelmsford has been shortlisted by the Evening Standard New Homes Awards, under the Best Large Development category. GSA produced the outline stage masterplan, and have designed two of the initial phases - Beaulieu Chase and Beaulieu Square (the neighbourhood centre).
Combining attractive contemporary architecture and beautiful landscape, to create great placemaking! Photo Credit - Countryside
Croydon councillors have approved a GSA designed 137-home apartment scheme for L&Q on a long-term vacant site in the heart of Croydon. With a generous round of applause, the Planning Committee unanimously voted to grant planning permission for this part-8 and 18-storey housing scheme, which includes 53% affordable housing.
Over 80% of homes are dual / triple aspect, with an outlook over high quality landscape also designed by GSA. This includes a generous communal garden & play area for all residents, focused around an existing protected oak tree. An active and well-defined street presence enhances the public realm.
A retail renaissance is taking place at Station Square, South Oxhey. The square has been redesigned to provide a better approach and public square in front of Carpenders Park Station, as well as providing upgraded retail space.
This is phase 1 of the wider town centre masterplan to regenerate urban housing in South Oxhey and to intensify and revitialise the retail provision. Find out more about the masterplan...
Parcel H10 at Northstowe has just received planning permission. The proposals will bring forward 76 new homes, in a series of courtyards and orchards, facing onto the Southern Greenway.
GSA provided urban design advice to the TW team. The proposals form a strong urban structure and townscape, and will have a rich, site-specific materials and planting palette reinforce its legibility and identity.
Here is a photo from the site visit to Mundon Road, Maldon – it was a best practice case study site visit, as part of Futurebuild. This is a pilot scheme for Moat Homes housing association. The aim is to vastly improve the energy performance of existing homes.
This is done by developing insulated over-cladding through the EnergieSprong whole-house retrofit model – to suit the UK’s existing housing stock. This is a really worthwhile innovation – it will have huge benefits for both the residents and the planet!
GSA’s designs for Beauchamp Park have received reserved matters planning approval under delegated powers. GSA were the lead consultant working with the L&Q team to provide 450 homes – from 1-bed apartments to 5-bedroom family houses, with 40% affordable homes spread throughout the site.
All the homes are designed using MMCs, while incorporating attractive, site-specific local vernacular features. The scheme creates distinctive character areas formed around existing and proposed areas of landscape – centred on a 0.5km long tree-lined green corridor, providing long views to historic Warwick.
Associate John Pratley attended Futurebuild on 7th March, where he was promoting our EnergieSprong retrofit pilot project for Moat Homes - currently on site in Maldon, Essex. The Dutch-inspired EnergieSprong concept is a model that enables the deep whole-house, net-zero energy retrofit of poorly performing existing homes -by utilising the money
that would have been spent over the next 30 years on fossil-fuel guzzling energy bills and repetitive, low-level building maintenance cycles. In the afternoon, Moat Homes and ENGIE UK gave a tour of the Maldon site to other potential EnergieSprong customers from Germany, The Netherlands, France and the UK to check on the build progress.
We are always interested to hear about the people who move into the homes that we design.
So we liked the article on Beaulieu Square, Chelmsford in last night’s Evening Standard Homes & Property.
We have heard that Beaulieu, Chelmsford has been used as a best practice case study at the Better Design For Better Places Conference held by the government (MHCLG).
We designed and co-ordinated the masterplan, one of the first residential phases and the neighbourhood centre for the joint venture between Countryside and L&Q. Photo Credit - Countryside
We really enjoyed hosting the February WISH (Women in Social Housing) event at our offices. It was an uplifting and frank panel discussion entitled “Managing your career strategy - Are you in the driving seat when it comes to managing your career?”
We benefitted from hearing about shared experiences and looking at ways of taking forward your own career path in the direction that you want to. Thanks to the panel and the audience for a lively, honest and helpful discussion.
GSA associate John Pratley gave a presentation at the Institute of Engineering & Technology in London this week; talking about the latest progress of our net-zero EnergieSprong pilot retrofit for Moat Homes in Essex. We have been working closely with ENGIE UK contractors & their suppliers to co-ordinate the design of the pre-fabricated components
for the external wall & roof insulated over-cladding & ‘plug-in’ energy-pod – containing heat pump, hot water storage, MVHR heating & ventilation kit – all to minimise the disruption to residents who will be living in their homes during the retrofit works. GSA will be providing further updates at the EnergieSprong stand at Futurebuild 5-7 March.
Beaulieu Phase 1, Chelmsford has been named as a finalist in the Excellence in Planning for Homes (large schemes – 50 or more homes) at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2019.
In Phase 1 GSA designed beautiful homes overlooking gardens and a linear park, and also a thriving new neighbourhood centre with attractive homes above shops, cafes and community buildings. The winners will be announced on 24 April 2019.
We were delighted to see that the Station Square pavilion is nearing completion at South Oxhey. The building was designed to sit between major services easements beneath the square. Can't wait to see who will move in!
This is part of the wider regeneration of the town centre - a joint venture between Three Rivers District Council, Countryside and Home Group. The square provides a new arrival space from Carpenters Park Station.
A joint venture between Tibbalds Planning & Urban Design & CampbellReith has been selected by Homes England for its 2019-2023 Multidisciplinary Panel. It is one of 20 specialist teams joining the panel set up via the OJEU process to provide Homes England and other public sector bodies with rapid and cost effective access to housing professionals.
The Tibbalds CampbellReith JV stands out for bringing together smaller & mid-sized firms, including architecture, planning, engineering, project management, and landscape architecture practices, to provide the technical coverage of a large organisation with the responsiveness and flexibility of SMEs. GSA is pleased to be part of the team.
Our design for 110 new homes and a small neighbourhood centre at Arborfield Green has received unanimous approval at planning committee. This is part of the wider regeneration scheme to transform the former Arborfield Garrison near Wokingham into a garden village.
The new homes will enjoy views over landscaped, green spaces and a convenient location next to the proposed new primary school. The design reconciles complex constraints, including flood protection, SuDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage System), an existing stream, mature protected trees and the location of the new bus route.
Photos from the site visit for the Park Place, Stevenage team. This regeneration scheme will provide 202 new homes in the town centre.
The South Block (Mulberry House) is almost complete, but the ground floor is still under construction. 80% of the homes in the South Block are now occupied. The whole project including the North Block (Boston House) is due to be complete in the next couple of months.
Looking Back On 2018 we have been privileged to work on some very exciting and rewarding projects. Thank you to everyone who worked with us and supported us throughout the year.
We are determined to make 2019 even better!
We are a creative and talented bunch at GSA. This year our Christmas image was created by our staff, through a competition. The winning entry was this image designed by Mauro Mosca – Christmas at Arborfield Green, Wokingham.
The wider proposals will include 2,000 new homes, 2 schools, a District Centre, and generous areas of open space. New homes are spacious, light-filled and open plan for modern family living, all within a high quality landscaped setting.
Our design for 450 new homes at Gallows Hill has been submitted for RM planning approval. This is a key strategic site in L&Q’s expansion into the Midlands.The new layout and architectural language create a series of distinctive, local character areas formed around the existing & proposed landscape – centred on a 0.5km long view to Warwick Castle.
The design provides a wide range of homes across the development – from 1-bed apartments to 5-bed family houses, with 40% affordable housing spread throughout the site. All these new homes are designed to utilise L&Q's pre-fabricated construction methodology, while incorporating local, site-specific vernacular features.
Work has started on the next phase of RNIB Redhill - the conversion of the Grade II Listed Tudor House into the RNIB community hub.
This part of a joint venture with between Countryside and the RNIB will result in specialised accommodation for up 50 residents and 77 new luxury homes on the site, which will be sold on the open market.
Our Design Code for the Northern Gateway at Arborfield Green for Crest Nicholson Regeneration has been approved by Wokingham Borough Council.
This is the 4th Design Code GSA have produced for Arborfield and focuses on a key part of the Garrison site that incorporates 3 residential parcels, a primary school and neighbourhood centre. We are continuing our work with Crest to secure reserved matters planning approvals at Arborfield Green into 2019.
Congratulations to all the team led by Countryside and L&Q, at Beaulieu, Chelmsford, for winning two International Property Awards.
Beaulieu triumphed in two categories – Best Residential Development and Best Mixed-Use Development. Photo Credit – Countryside.
We are delighted that Oak Road in Tiddington, near Stratford-Upon-Avon was unanimously approved at planning committee last night. The scheme will provide 60 new homes with a community focus, clustered around a series of 3 attractive new greens. This will make a handsome addition to the village.
The client, L&Q Counties, provide high quality homes accessible to local communities outside London, across a range of tenures. The buildings will progress rapidly on site – through the use of a timber-framed panel system. The factory techniques are so efficient that the structural frame for a house can be fabricated in 45 minutes!
Chelmsford has been a popular place to live since Roman times. In 2012 it became a city – as part of the celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
We were pleased to see a photo of our house designs at Beaulieu within the Evening Standard Homes & Property this week.
We are delighted that the Bright Horizons Day Nursery and the Kip McGrath Education Centre at Beaulieu, Chelmsford have opened their doors now, welcoming children of all ages, from babies to teens.
This will be a great asset for the wider community. Image credit - Countryside.
Yesterday we attended the groundbreaking ceremony for Phase 2 of the South Oxhey town centre regeneration. It was a good opportunity to see all the progress that has been made so far, and to celebrate the success of the partnership between TRDC, Countryside & Home Group.
Phase 2 will deliver 174 new homes, 7,857sqft of retail space and a new market place.
The latest phase of Arborfield Green Garden Village has been submitted for planning. Our designs for Crest Nicholson include 110 new homes – a mix of apartments and houses - and a small neighbourhood centre to the north of Biggs Lane.
The wider proposals include up to 2000 new homes, 2 schools, a District Centre, SANGs, allotments and sports facilities. New homes are spacious, light-filled and open plan for modern family living, all within a high quality landscaped setting.
At the Countryside Alan Cherry Debate. Nice to see our project Beaulieu, Chelmsford feature as the backdrop for the discussions today!
Among the topics for debate - How can councils and home builders work together to combat potential nimbyism in areas of high housing demand?
Our scheme for Bellway to develop part of the North Kent College campus has been submitted for planning. The site has an interesting place in history. In 1895, Martina Bergman-Österberg located her women’s Physical Training College here (then a house called Kingsfield). The game of netball is credited as being developed here.
The proposals include 156 new homes – a mix of houses and apartments, inspired by the architecture of Kingsfield House. The development is centred around The Green - a large landscaped area providing a new setting for Kingsfield, which will be sensitively converted into apartments.
We have achieved planning consent for 102 new homes in Grays, for our client Bellway Homes. The proposals include a mix of apartments and houses and transform the site that sits within a former quarrying area of the town, close to the NuStar fuel storage facility.
Grays in Essex is a town with great potential, close to scenic country parks and the River Thames, yet within convenient commuting distance of London. We worked closely with the Bellway team to turn around the planning application in 2 months!
This year we went to Warwick Castle for our team building event. It was an enjoyable day, in a wonderful historic setting.
We had training in archery and the art of sword fighting. And now the team is ready for anything!
We are pleased that Beaulieu is a finalist in the Best Placemaking category at the British Homes Awards.
The character of the architecture and landscape, working together, give a strong sense of place. The first phases - including the neighbourhood centre are now complete.
We are delighted that our design for 2 Iceni Square has been nominated – a group of three-storey, four-bedroom houses in the Atelier neighbourhood where a mix of interesting contemporary designs, which include terraces and flats, have been composed to provide both a distinctive architectural flavour and a sense of integration.
The awards team describe the townhouse as “This house has both pleasing overall proportions and a combination of details that complement each other nicely so that the design works well whether you are looking at it standing back or close up.”
It’s great to see the first businesses moving into Station Square, Carpenders Park. This retail area and public square form part of the first phase of the South Oxhey Initiative.
This is a joint venture between Countryside, Home Group and Three Rivers District Council to regenerate the town centre. At the same time the first 84 town centre apartments are under construction.
We are delighted that the Community Centre at Beaulieu is now open. It is an important element of our mixed-use neighbourhood centre design.
The community centre has a wonderful double height space - which can be used for lots of purposes. We can't wait to see the programme of events coming up! (Photo credit - Countryside)
We are delighted to see that Beaulieu has been shortlisted in the Best Placemaking category for the 2018 British Homes Awards. Further to the development of our design for the wider masterplan for 3,600 homes to the north of Chelmsford, we have designed two of the initial detailed phases of the Development – Beaulieu Chase and Beaulieu Square.
Now completed, these initial phases of the scheme are setting the tone for further phases of the development and have created a place with a real sense of character. New build homes are set within generously landscaped avenues, linear parks and public garden spaces - alongside private amenity space including both gardens and external terrace space.
GSA have been working with ENGIE Regeneration - developing the EnergieSprong near net-zero energy retrofit pilot for social housing provider Moat Homes in Maldon, Essex. GSA associate John Pratley gave a presentation to prospective residents as part of a customer engagement workshop at the local community centre.
We have submitted a planning application for 6 homes. GSA designed the holistic proposals using our in-house Passivhaus modelling capabilities to energy-prove the design process. “The project is exciting and the finished result looks really smart but the best bit has to be the expected savings on energy costs” - Ms Edwards - Resident
Congratulations to the Beaulieu team for the win in the Infrastructure Planning category of the Planning Awards. It was a successful night -also scooping highly commended awards for Partnership Working and Best Housing Scheme (500 homes or more).
Picture credit – Countryside.
“When it comes to designing for adults, young adults in this case, you have to make sure it reflects somewhere they want to live in. It’s not a nursery or a school — you want it to feel like home so you have to be using colours that reflect that kind of environment.” – Manoher Matharu, director
Manoher was talking about our design at Redhill for RNIB. Find out more about inclusive design in George Kafka’s article for Blueprint this month.
“Estate regeneration was already a thorny issue before the Grenfell Tower fire, involving complex debates around whether to refurbish or demolish. Tragic events at Grenfell almost a year ago further complicated the issue, leaving many questioning the future of some of the UK’s mid-twentieth century estates, specifically those constructed using the
non-traditional materials and designs of the public housing boom.” – Josephine Smit We are helping to address this. At Wilmcote House, Portsmouth we have been upgrading the external fabric performance to achieve Passivhaus EnerPHit. Read more about our refurbishment project in Josephine’s article.
Part of the North Kent College campus is being sold for residential development (to raise funds for a new teaching building). The site has an interesting place in history. In 1895, Martina Bergman-Österberg located her women’s Physical Training College here (then a house called Kingsfield). The game of netball is credited as being developed here.
Our proposals include new houses and apartments, centred around The Green - a large landscaped area which lies at the heart of the development. It also provides a new setting for Kingsfield, which will be sensitively converted into apartments. A public exhibition has been held to consult upon the proposals.
We are delighted to receive two planning approvals in one week for our designs at Park Place, Stevenage. Here are some site photos of our town centre regeneration work currently on site. The recent approvals relate to:
12 Park Place - a 9 home scheme for MBU Capital adjacent to our current Park Place project which responds sensitively and adds to the modernist conservation area. St George's Car Park cladding scheme - creating a visual screen for the benefit of the new residents of Park Place that will look towards the car park, utilising perforated metal panels.
Grays in Essex is a town with great potential, close to scenic country parks and the River Thames, yet within convenient commuting distance of London. So we were delighted to be appointed to transform this development site within a former quarrying area of the town.
We have just submitted a planning application for 102 new homes (a mix of houses and apartments) at Devonshire Place. We worked closely with the Bellway team to turn around the planning application in 2 months!
Congratulations to Paddi Clark who graduated with Distinction in her MSc in Environmental Strategy from the University of Surrey. Her dissertation explored the potential for using Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) in UK social housing using GSA's Westway Beacons as a case study.
Westway Beacons was the first U.K. Housing project to incorporate ATES which uses the heat naturally stored in the aquifer to provide low cost heating and cooling, thereby minimising residents’ fuel bills and helping people out of fuel poverty.
We noticed an advert for our apartment scheme at Grange Walk in Bermondsey on the back of a London bus in Greenwich.
Far from looking like ‘the back end of a bus’ - the scheme is an elegant courtyard design that strongly addresses the urban context and surrounding streets.