Chorlton Park

Evaluation

This project clearly deserved its Housing Corporation Award for the best example of affordable housing. It is innovative both in construction and in the way it uses space to respond to the needs of occupants and to the environment. The scheme is cleverly conceived and constructed. It is not only economic to buy, but will be economic to use over time.

The rather complex elevational treatment, with rendering to the main elevations, responds well to the streetscape. Interest is added by the reclaimed timber framing to the balconies, and the neat polycarbonate roof to the walkways. Although changing the finish to the upper two levels allows the predominant street height to run through uninterrupted, perhaps this reduces the impact of the façade. Pedestrian movement around the site, which centres on the courtyard, encourages a sense of community.

The removal of the contaminated soil provided an excavated level for discreet car parking. The ground floor was consequently raised, increasing privacy from the adjacent roads. Using a timber frame for the development of Chorlton Park provided the opportunity for a high level of insulation, and also speedy construction. The frame was erected in only ten weeks and was fully watertight after a further three weeks.

Detailing throughout is simple, but of the highest standard. Features include delicate hardwood fencing in the courtyard which screen bin stores as well as adjacent properties. Even the car park is of quality design. Internal planning is generous, with 4m x 5.8m living rooms (in duplexes) and excellent kitchens and bathrooms.

The concrete substructure supports a lightweight and highly insulated timber frame, finished to imply masonry construction. High quality windows and doors, timber balconies, screens, walkways, and large sections of wind-toppled oak add quality to this low budget development.

The construction, together with the high door and window specification provides a high level of insulation (with an amazing overall ‘U’ value of 0.11). As a result, only small electric heaters are required and annual heating bills are expected to be less than £100 (2002) per unit.

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Key information

Location

Manchester

Region

North West

Award

2003 winner