The 21 homes of Boxwood Park are sited on previously developed land within the greenbelt of Hertfordshire, on the edge of ancient woodland. By developing a sensitive contemporary design response with modular housing we were able to demonstrate the special circumstances needed to gain consent within the greenbelt.
The new homes adopt a ribbon layout typology set between selectively preserved trees away from the edge of the highway. This approach challenged the local planning authorities’ preference for a traditionally clustered sub-urban development with half of the proposed homes on a section of the site formally occupied by a low grade office development.
A mix of housing types are proposed, including pre-cast concrete units initially imported from the Netherlands and a lightweight linear home formed from 4 modules clustered around a central core. The heavy and lightweight buildings have contrasting conditioning strategies that respond to their positioning and orientation on the site. Lighter weight homes sit on the lower section of the site on mini-piles driven between trees which offer natural shading benefits, whilst the concrete homes occupy the more exposed higher ground.
Testing modularisation on the site extends Hertfordshire’s tradition of developing innovative housing and was a key factor in consent being granted for the scheme. The project becomes an incubator for new manufacturing within the area and is being promoted by the Dutch contractor VolkerWessels who own the site. An initial pre-fabricated concrete home from the company’s mainland Europe factory has been installed on site and is undergoing assessment, with the potential for wider use across the UK.
Lightweight zero carbon homes are long and thin with natural light, passive ventilation and servicing delivered from a stair core within the middle of the plan. Plug and play technology adopted from the commercial office market is used to improve quality and reduce labour on site, creating a 21 century home in an ancient setting.
Status: planning achieved
Contract Value: £10M