A design team was formed and ideas were floated, the final conclusion to this journey; The Treehouse, is described below and represents all of our passions surrounding biodiversity, sustainability, net zero carbon, people-centred and creative design.

The proposed city centre site sits in the heart of Bristol and due to its locality offers the opportunity to create community; a focus for engagement and celebration of our diverse, creative, independent and collaborative city. Our proposal ‘The Treehouse’ captures the essence of the playful spirit of our city.

The ‘roots’ at plinth level of our design spread around the energy centre, terrace down to the waterfront and across the park to generate a flexible events space. A covering of landscaping and native species planting over this plinth holistically integrates the park and site whilst embracing a south facing waterfront space not currently utilised.

In using stackable units of volumetric MMC to create two ‘treehouses’ of one to three bed NDSS homes, we are able to achieve a 40% affordable contribution. Utilising MMC lowers the embodied carbon impact of the build and by working with MMC suppliers that have an integrated end-of-life strategy increases the circular economy. MMC also reduces operational carbon impact through delivering a scheme that has a high-quality fabric first approach, most notably through; low U-Values, good air tightness, reduced thermal bridging and standardised junction details.

Seven storeys above the energy centre and rising a further three storeys adjacent Castle View, the proposed build fits into the developing urban grain of St Mary Le Port and could deliver up to ninety units on the site.

The façades are designed with beauty and function in mind, through incorporating urban habitats for swifts, peregrine falcons, and other native or migratory species. Generous projecting balconies of various shapes are composed of planted and hard surfaces offering a range of possibilities for food growing, vertical gardening, and bee keeping.

Our design seeks to be as self-reliant on energy and heat management as possible to deliver an overall net-zero scheme. Low U-Values, good air tightness, reduced thermal bridging, standardised junction details and appropriate glazing design will also enable us to realise useful solar gains in the winter, whilst reducing unwanted summer solar gains.