HTA@50 - Upton Site C

Following a successful relationship with Barratt Homes during the Design for Manufacture initiative another site forming the urban extension to Upton in Northamptonshire enabled HTA the opportunity to work with the affiliated David Wilson Homes. An Outline consent with Design Code for the new place included a new school, community facilities and homes of all sizes and typologies to eventually support a sustainable community, the homes achieving Eco Homes Excellent. Site C needed 30 large and distinctive houses between woodland to the north and open views over parkland to the south.

The brief described three storey homes with double height spaces and mezzanines. Seen from a distance they provide the first glimpse of Upton on approach through the countryside. Taking the familiar idea of a series of villas on the edge of a town or village, together we explored how attractive features of modern living could be used to make desirable large houses. The ambitious sustainability strategy delivered by Aurore Julien at Whitby Bird drove the team’s shared design approach to successfully integrate features that add to the enjoyment of the spaces and contribute to the environmental performance.

The strong expression of the roofline created a distinctive elevation that also shaded the large windows that maximise daylight. Stairs linking the ground and first floor public rooms were larger and grander than those that connected to top floor master suites giving the chance to 'discover' a surprising space at the top of the house. There were ‘bonus rooms’ over the garages to the rear providing space to work at home or for family members to live independently.

The development uses HTA’s component-led design approach where a small number of well-designed components are used to make a variety of different homes, an approach developed and refined over a series of projects from the Peabody Housetypes to Oakridge and then Design for Manufacture. Externally the homes are differentiated by a wide range of natural materials including brick, stone and timber shingles that are locally appropriate, alongside the more contemporary zinc cladding.

The development was beautifully built by David Wilson Homes and won a Housing Design award for Best Project. It has been used in a number of design guides and, thirteen years on, it creates a distinctive and attractive edge to the now completed place.

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