Blackhall Road

Competition Winning, Sustainable Housing, Inverurie

In October 2001, Christopher Palmer Associates were part of MAST Architects winning entry for the Scotland wide Sustainable Housing Competition, promoted by Castlehill Housing Association, for a site at Inverurie, Aberdeenshire. The final scheme of 34 houses is a development of the competition entry and was completed in 2004.

The design concept seeks to create a settlement within fairly challenging surroundings and achieves this by placing the houses on the perimeter of the site, overlooking a small park and play area.

The scheme grapples with a series of dilemmas that are inherent in achieving sustainable housing within a world where goods and people are transported huge distances. The design move was to create wide frontage plans, to allow cross ventilation, solar gain and flexible internal planning, plus the provision of integrated sunspaces.

The main construction features include triple glazed windows, 300mm insulation to walls and roofs, communal heating and prefabricated timber cassettes, the latter being developed in collaboration with a local timber kit manufacturer.

Much of the site had been used as a tip for civils materials and had become colonized with birch and pine trees. Tipped material and trees growing on it had to be cleared from the centre of the site but selected trees were retained and protected on the margins of the site and were supplemented with new plantings of birch rowan and pine. In addition a buffer of native species were planted on the south boundary of the site to provide noise attenuation together with an acoustic fence against the Inverurie bypass.

The small central space utilizes the site levels to provide a simple play space for children.

Client:Castlehill Housing Association

Architects: Michael & Sue Thornley Architects

Contractor: Chap Construction (Aberdeen) Ltd.