A mixed tenure development with a green heart

Foundry Quarter

Location Reading
Client Crossmark Developments

Brief history

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.

Vision

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.

Design intent

The Foundry Quarter 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.

Design delivery

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.

User experience

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.

Wellbeing

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.

Challenges overcome

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.

New identity

Creating a new identity was integral to the regeneration of the 1.32 hectare site.

Green space

Landscaping occupies 68% of the site footprint.

“This will be a great place to live, with exceptional spaces and connectivity at the heart of a vibrant town centre.”

Mark Alker Stone, Project Director

West site elevation

A range of window widths, heights and detailing have been used to give the façade a sense of hierarchy, a suggestion of the different functions of the spaces within, visual variety and interest.

Concept diagram

Initial concepts for the site in response to the constraints and opportunities identified.

Site plan

Permeability through the site, linking to public transport and breaking down the mass on the site.