HTA@50 - Heartlands Custom Build

1 Choose the style of your home, 2 choose the size of your home, 3 choose the arrangement of living spaces, 4 choose the external materials, 5 choose the internal specification, 6 choose the energy performance of the building fabric, and you have your home. This handful of choices was the outcome of a multi-strand collaboration led by innovative developer Igloo for the first and largest custom-build development in the country at Heartlands in Cornwall, the gateway site of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Between Redruth and Cambourne the place itself, Pool, is home to mining heritage, a neolithic settlement and the beautiful Cornish landscape. A revised Outline planning consent designated part of the site for custom build housing for which Igloo brought together HTA and five other Architects, Mae, Ash Sakula, White Design, Dwelle and AOC to produce a range of customisable house types. HTA had previously successfully incorporated customisation of home design at Oakridge near Basingstoke, itself one of a series of projects that had explored the application of modern methods of construction and resident choice. Together the team visited completed schemes including Almere in Holland to gain a shared understanding approaches to custom build. Through the collaboration for Heartlands the design challenges of facilitating the variety brought by consumer choice on a site while keeping it a cohesive and carefully considered place were met through a Design Code.

With a set of design parameters, the technical challenges of designing junctions between houses and the required flexibility of layout were addressed by collaborating along the supply chain by involving the manufacturers of various systems. HTA partnered with Kingspan after the successful collaboration at Hanham Hall near Bristol.

Detailed engagement with local people featured HTA delivering Assemble and Join with much success. A deeper understanding of local needs and preferences informed the revisions to the masterplan and the team’s appreciation for the place. Cornwall Council was consulted extensively, and the scheme benefitted from input from the local Design Review Panel. The local supply chain was used extensively from local caterers to building trades throughout the process to benefit local businesses.

Heartlands is an important step forward in enabling the consumer to have a home that suits the way they live. To further improve the accessibility of the six choices HTA and Kingspan worked with Slider Studios to develop a powerful online tool that shows users costed choices as they are made. This innovative development in one of the most beautiful parts of the country has won several awards including a Housing Design Award in 2016 for best Custom-Build project and a Build It Award in 2016 for Best Custom Build Project or Model and customisation remans an important area of design for HTA.

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