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Welwyn; Clock House Gardens; Stockwool

Dual-aspect housing : Clock House Gardens in Welwyn

The design by Stockwool for a plot near Welwyn, England, responds to the site's context, which features a unique combination of urban and rural surroundings involving a nearby motorway on one side and dense woodland on the other. In their entirety the five two- and three-storey buildings that make up the housing scheme form a "wall" to minimise noise and pollution from the motorway.  A courtyard partially enclosed by the buildings provides views of the neighbouring wood.

The materials used in the facades are aligned to the differing character of the surroundings. This can be seen in the robust brickwork deployed in the edge areas and in those close to the motorway, and by the timber cladding and large windows featured in quieter parts of the housing.

Most of the built fabric in Welwyn consists of largish private homes, which the middle classes are hardly able to afford these days any more. Accordingly the decision was taken – following consultation with the local council – to dimension certain dwelling units in the new housing project at between 50 and 87 square metres, i.e. in apartment sizes that not only address young families and singles with a modest income but which also help counteract the housing shortage in the town.

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