view of contemporary and sustainable new homes

Castle Court

70 contemporary and sustainable new homes adjacent to HTA’s award winning Olympic Sailing village, Officers Field


Castle Court makes the most of public land through a design that delivers low-cost family homes in an area with challenging viability through thoughtful, economic solutions. It is a development of 70 new homes on a currently derelict former Royal Navy site in Portland, Dorset. The site sits adjacent to HTA and ZeroC’s earlier award-winning Officer’s Field development and is the next phase in the regeneration masterplan.

The project is a combination of both new build houses and the conversion, renovation, and extension of the Edwardian, Royal Navy Canteen Building and disused control tower that currently occupies the northern portion of the site into 27 flats.


Strong gable housetypes

How is the design influenced by the challenging topography?

The development is arranged around a new internal link with a landscaped central square that acts as a focal point to the scheme. The site features challenging topography, with the eastern boundary 5m above the rest of the site. New steps exploit this to provide links through the site, while the streets are designed to reduce traffic speed to ensure pedestrians are prioritised.

The housetypes have been designed to respond to the challenging geography, with large amounts of fenestration on all sides creating active frontage and overlooking all aspects of the development. Meanwhile, 1st-floor living spaces and 1st-floor gardens mean that the level changes are treated as an asset and designed to be integrated seamlessly into the development. These upper-floor living spaces also provide houses with the best views towards the surrounding sea while providing light-filled interiors in principal living areas.

Local materials
varying housetypes
farmhouse style homes

How does the design reflect and respect the architectural heritage and context of the surrounding area?

The homes evolve the architecture of the neighbouring Officers Field, echoing its gables and streets with a strong rhythm. A material palette respects the uniqueness of the site, its setting and its varied context. It draws from the influences of the refurbished red brick former canteen building and the listed Portland Castle, which has a distinctive use of Portland Stone that is robust enough to withstand the extreme weather conditions of Portland.

Feature gables are accented with diaper pattern brickwork, whilst ,a more restrained, understated palette of sandy brick colours is employed on the rest of the site. Large, uninterrupted picture windows are complemented by smaller, separate opening vents to provide all houses with extensive views out to the unique context. They will ensure that all houses feel generous and light-filled inside. Cast stone surrounds frame the windows, emphasising the views’ importance and offering relief and articulation in the otherwise simple gabled forms. These details are complimented by a range of brickwork, including soldier courses and expressive brickwork eaves coursing, all designed to soften and humanise the architecture.

The streets are framed by site-specific homes, with 7 different typologies configured in 22 different layouts and designs, each responding to its context. The houses range from 1-bedroom flats to 4-bedroom houses, with ~60% being houses and the remainder flats.

The disused Canteen Building, a cherished part of the site’s history, has been lovingly restored and extended, with the formal frontage being brought back to its former grandeur. This restoration is a testament to our commitment to preserving the site’s rich history and integrating it seamlessly into the new development.

three storey homes
Rear view of homes
local materials

Enabling a low-carbon lifestyle

Castle Court is a sustainable location because it reuses a brownfield site, which reuses the existing canteen building, and is located close to the existing centre of Portland with all of its facilities.

The homes are designed to be energy efficient with a building fabric that is highly insulated and airtight. Technology that includes pre-installed cabling and pipework for Photovoltaic or Solar Thermal has been adopted in the designs. All homes have electric vehicle charging and individual composting facilities included. Many homes incorporate dedicated home office spaces whilst enjoying large windows that maximise daylight autonomy and solar gain while allowing cross ventilation to keep the homes cool.

Embodied energy is minimised on the site through the renovation and reuse of the former Royal Navy Canteen building into new homes, including the aircraft control tower, which required creative planning to resolve the space. Portland stone is used due to the low embodied transport cost from the quarry, which is a few hundred meters away.

contemporary new home
homes on a hill
homes made of portland stone

Landscape Design

Landscape planting at castle court

How the landscape is informed by the local setting

The landscape design at Castle Court creates a network of green streets with a new central square at its heart. The square provides a place for the community to play, relax and gather within an attractive, shared green setting which sets the tone of the development. The landscape proposals also promote biodiversity, centering on plants and trees which thrive in coastal habitats and create interest all year round. The hard materials palette also takes its cue from the site’s coastal location, with a focus on Portland Stone and timber elements that create a sense of place.