Paul Southouse and Francesco Miniati
Planning approval for 66 Cumnor Hill was originally gained by TSH Architects and OFA was instructed by the client to develop and refine the design.
The key tasks undertaken during the project were:
- Adding an extra flat increasing the building mass of one of the buildings and increasing the areas of ground floor flats taking advantage of the site topography.
- A general review and rationalisation of the approved design to allow for an efficient construction process. Here, rhythm and standardised elements were sought and developed in order to rationalise the scheme, simplify buildability, and reduce overall costs.
- Review the approved design scheme with regard to the proposed buildings and their relationship to the site, neighbours and orientation. The site topography is steeply sloped, which was not addressed fully at planning stage. Here, our role was to negate the additional building costs, and ensure that the building heights were set out accurately, and evaluate the resultant relationship to neighbouring properties.
- The sloped nature of the site also affected basement structures, and so our role also included developing a system that minimised the amount of imported fill and retaining structures required, thus reducing costs and rationalising buildability.
- Review of external materials and façade treatment. Here, our role was to evaluate the planning approved facade specification, and to develop a system that was primarily aesthetically pleasing, whilst maintaining cost control and durability.
- Review the surrounding context and integration of the project within the site. The client intended to integrate the project within surrounding context sensitively.
Through the design development process, a number of opportunities to economise building construction and maintenance costs and a general refinement in the overall quality of the project were achieved. This in turn presented significant changes from the approved design, and such these changes were to be presented for consideration as minor amendments.