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View: Grid List
Client
Crest Nicholson (SW) Ltd
Location
Gloucester
Size
7,287sqm
Performance
EcoHomes: Excellent
Homes
84
Contact
Colin Rice
Team
Gleeds, Arup, Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners, Sharps Redmore, Gillespie, The Ash Partnership, Cowlin
Awards
Gloucester Civic Awards Commendation for ‘Best Climate Friendly Scheme’ (2008) Brick Awards - Best Private Housing Development (2008) The Mail on Sunday British Homes Awards Apartment of the Year Commendation (2007)

The historic Gloucester Docks with its powerful red-brick warehouses is the context for this development of two new buildings next to the ‘Barge Arm’; a quay space where cargoes were transferred between boats.

Barge Arm Development

The design development benefitted from close collaboration with SWRDA, English Heritage, Gloucester City Planners and the masterplanners for the dock regeneration.

The main Barge Arm building echoes the massing and grain of the neighbouring Grade 2 listed warehouses and provides 67 one and two-bedroom apartments and two commercial units. Overlooking the waterfront, it has fine views of Gloucester Cathedral and the National Waterways Museum. Roof terraces are provided for the top floor of the main building and elsewhere generous corner windows maximise views over the surroundings.

The neighbouring building uses 17 single aspect flats and six ground level commercial units  to cleverly disguise a 256 space car park that provides parking for all the warehouses converted to residential use.

Context

The new buildings are set in a visually sensitive location immediately adjacent to a series of Grade 2 listed warehouses which dominate the site and express their industrial origins in their simplicity of form.

Our design takes cues from the bay width of one of the listed warehouses and from the north south orientation of its roof ridges - unique in the docks. Four bays of framed brickwork construction are made using this module, running north south, separated by three recessed bays clad in a contrasting, more recessive manner using timber cladding with a vertical emphasis. 

The existing warehouses have a grid of small windows appropriate to their original function. In our design the window openings are large, within which a pattern of subdivisions, including opaque panels, set up counter rhythms. The window recesses are deep to create a strongly modelled effect echoing the vigour of the warehouses. The system allows a combination of commercial and residential uses to site comfortably side by side on the ground floor.

The resulting composition sits comfortably with the grain of the existing warehouses.

“This project is a significant architectural landmark as it contains the first substantial new buildings to be located in the historic docks central conservation area for over a hundred years. Great care has been taken throughout to ensure high quality and sympathetic design and, consequently, the (planning) application was ‘enthusiastically’ approved by the City Council.”

Peter Wynn, Network News, The Stakeholder Newsletter of the Gloucester Heritage Regeneration Company, October 2004

Climate

The development achieves what was for its time the highest environmental rating of Excellent using the BRE EcoHomes assessment method, through use of high thermal insulation levels and sustainably sourced materials. 

The naturally ventilated central courtyard in the main building is seen as essentially an external space but sheltered from the rain by a polycarbonate ‘umbrella’ roof. This enables the space to be ventilated naturally from a fire point of view without requiring the normal system of detectors and smoke shafts with automatic vents. It also enables the apartments on the upper levels to be accessed via open day-lit galleries rather than enclosed corridors.