Almshouse for the 21st century

Skelly & Couch is presently working with 2013 Stirling Prize–winning architects Witherford Watson Mann on an impressive new four-storey almshouse fit for the 21st Century.

The high-quality building will contribute to the long-term physical and social character of the area. The proposal is for 57 extra-care housing flats along with several communal spaces, facilities for an on-site warden and a well-designed residents’ garden. There will also be provision for some shared public facilities open to all.

The building will be targeting substantial reductions in carbon emissions – 35% over and above those set out in Building Regulations 2013 - and incorporates contemporary and renewable technologies to provide energy in a sustainable way.

Design measures to achieve targeted carbon reductions include:

•Passive cooling to communal areas, including a large double height multi- purpose garden room, by effectively utilising natural ventilation and the thermal mass of the building.

•Utilising passive solar energy in transient circulation and buffer spaces

•Efficient thermal fabric and high air tightness values

•Carefully considered solar shading and high levels of thermal insulation to south façades to protect from excessive direct solar penetration

•Efficient building services, intuitive local controls so as not to waste energy and a Building Energy Management System

•Well-integrated renewable technologies, including a large roof mounted Photovoltaic Array.