Work starts on Cunninghame Housing Association development in Lockerbie

Construction work on a development of 45 new affordable homes on the site of the former Lockerbie Academy is now under way.

Collective Architecture said its design proposals for its client Cunninghame Housing Association, working in partnership with Dumfries & Galloway Council to deliver its Strategic Housing Investment Plan, are to commence on site in the coming weeks following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions on construction work in Scotland.

Forming a key gateway to the town of Lockerbie, the proposals for the brownfield site consists of a mix of semi-detached and terraced two storey housing, alongside cottage flats and amenity bungalows. A considered approach to the site layout has sought to build on the strong sense of place that exists within Lockerbie and which was a common theme expressed during consultation with the local community.

Collective Architecture said it approached the development with a dual strategy for stitching into the existing settlement; completing the urban edge of the townscape and forming a new sweeping crescent to maximise the opportunities to create a shared surface street space within the heart of the site. The proposed layout seeks to fill the gaps in the currently fragmented urban edge of Glasgow Road through the introduction of a series of terraced blocks.

According to the practice, the development also acts to complete Dryfe Road up to the new Lockerbie Academy/Primary School campus through the introduction of two new semi-detached blocks, which respond to the scale and character of their neighbours. The creation of the new crescent street through the centre of the site will provide elongated, long views and offers up the opportunity for future pedestrian connections through to the adjacent Lockerbie Old School. This adjoining site is currently the subject of a community asset transfer, with the local community looking to develop the existing buildings for new public uses.

The site strategy and layout take cues from the surrounding urban fabric, architectural character and local housing types. The proposals look to sit sensitively within their context as a contemporary interpretation of the local vernacular housing stock. The proposed houses reference their surroundings but do not mimic them. Elevations make use of a series of familiar architectural elements, namely projecting bays, dormer windows, chimneys and projecting eaves.

Work starts on Cunninghame Housing Association development in Lockerbie

For Collective Architecture, the combination of these elements informs a recognisable and contextually respectful domestic architecture. Simple architectural devices such as the dormers and chimneys are used to gables and street elevations to create distinct corners and provide rhythm to longer terrace elevations. The use of a limited palette of house types increase repetition with careful placement of cottage-flat types to terrace ends providing two active frontages at all key corners.

The buildings look to complement the existing context through the use of a respectful material palette which reflects the local use of stone and slate, whilst utilising contemporary building technologies. A single, red, facing brick has been selected to closely reflect the local Locharbriggs sandstone and affords an opportunity to create architecture with a sense of weight and permanence that is appropriate to the richness of the stone-built context. A strong sense of depth is created by bays and porches, whilst overhanging eaves emphasise the vernacular forms and change the buildings character depending on the time of day, month and year.

Ross Aitchison of Collective Architecture said: “We are delighted to see this project reach site start, particularly given the challenges and delays related to COVID-19. Like many similar sized towns, Lockerbie requires a significant increase in the provision of high quality affordable housing to meet local need. To deliver this we have worked closely with the client, and through engagement with the local community, to form a new streetscape with a strong sense of character.

“Our approach places emphasis on simple, recognisable, architectural moves that improve domestic life – providing covered entrance porches and bay windows, making well proportioned spaces, and generous external spaces. In doing so we have looked to reference and evoke the familiar, enduring qualities of the high quality public housing built in Scotland in the early 20th Century.

“Using a palette of repeating architectural elements, we are bringing forward proposals which will improve the housing offer for the local community and ultimately make life better for the new residents.”

Linda Anderson, executive director of development services, added: “We are excited that work can now begin on this important new build site in Lockerbie. Working with our contractor Ashleigh Scotland Ltd, and supported by Dumfries and Galloway Council and the Scottish Government, we will deliver 45 much needed high quality homes for rent at this location.”

All images are owned by Collective Architecture Ltd

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