Described by Building for Life judges as 'a local quality benchmark', The Manor housing development combines distinctive architectural character with rich landscaping. Designed by John Thomson and Partners.
The site is a former sewerage treatment works bound on to the north by undistinguishable housing and on the south by Lower Earley Way, a busy link road between Reading, Lower Earley and the M4. A major sewer runs under the north of the site creating a no-build zone.
The developer's response has been to create a development of distinct character where formal architecture, well mannered urban design and rich landscaping come together to create the feel of homes set next to a park.
The scheme uses a bund to shelter the housing from noise from Lower Earley Way (and view of a new pumping station) and has made this part of a 2.2 ha public open space which, with mature plating, already feels like established parkland.
The design picks up on the Berkshire vernacular, using the same multi-coloured stock brick and fenestration details for both market sale and affordable homes which bind the social units within the development without "social housing design" marking them out as different tenure. The scheme illustrates the appeal of keeping things simple while spending a little more on landscaping.