Preparing a brief and holding the competition
The local planning authority created an ambitious brief which clearly expressed their aspirations for a scheme that was very high quality in both design and environmental performance. A strong brief was essential to raise expectations and clearly define what was required as without this the site would have attracted a lower grade of development.
The choice of professional design team is crucial to achieving quality outcomes. The council held a design competition which, together with the ambitious brief, attracted architectural practices with a reputation for high-quality, sustainable design. The winning submission was one which closely followed the brief and provided the best solution.
Involving the community in design details
Community engagement, with a particular emphasis on involving local school children, was an important part of the design process,. Local knowledge and opinions influenced the detailed design stage of the scheme (basic form and layout were determined at the competition stage).
Raising construction standards
Construction required an open minded builder who could work with modern materials and techniques. The search for low embodied energy materials led to the use of pre-fabricated timber panels and structural elements, with minimal use of masonry.
Following completion, the developer stated that they wanted all future schemes to achieve similar standards. Cross Street South raised the bar for other schemes by that developer and for other future developers in the area.
Ensuring long term maintenance
A management and maintenance programme is in place and a caretaker is employed at the site. This ensures that the properties and spaces are maintained in the longer term.