A mixed tenure development with a green heart
The site was a derelict retail park in central Reading, within walking distance of the main rail station and bounded by major dual carriageways, existing pre-war housing and 1980s low rise housing.
AWW supported our client on the site purchase. Our due diligence and feasibility studies assessed the site capacity to deliver a build to rent model.
We wanted to create a new community with green space and permeability for the local area to reconnect to the town centre. The site approach from Weldale Street is designed to be inviting and encourage movement through the development. Integral to the project are the public open spaces, gardens and private courtyards, allowing people to sit, relax and socialise.
Domain respects the built environment of the neighbouring development where there is a significant use of red brick. Different combinations and varieties of red, buff and grey brick achieve a high quality design. The desire was to break down the massing and add visual interest across the site.
We delivered a full RIBA service from site purchase and feasibility study. The team is now working with the contractor delivering phase one of the project, with apartments available in 2021.
The apartments will benefit from lounge and recreational spaces that will support ‘working from home’. Flexible furniture and enhanced connectivity will enable this new approach to working with opportunities for residents to collaborate and share.
The scheme brings back into use a largely redundant city centre site that is currently plagued by anti-social behaviour. In total approximately 68% of the site will be landscaped, with a combination of mature trees, shrubs and footpaths.
Flexibility and commerciality
The development is designed for both market sale, Build to Rent and includes social/shared ownership apartments within the development.
The site faced several challenges that had an impact on the final design, including the creation of a high quality landscape environment. This also needed to shelter residents from the surrounding environment, with its predominance of highways and underpasses. Permeability was an important driver for the design: this was balanced with the need to maintain privacy and security for the community.