Steepleton, situated within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has been shortlisted for Housing Project of the Year at the AJ Architecture Awards. Neighbourly interaction is a key project design objective helping to combat loneliness, which is recognised as an acute problem among older people, having detrimental effects on both physical and mental wellbeing.
At Steepleton the new homes are clustered around a series of seven open courts, each with a garden or productive landscape. This will encourage a sense of community, avoid the need for long institutional corridor circulation within the courtyard wings, and create dual-aspect living spaces to all homes.
Similarly, a series of cloistered timber loggias at ground and first-floor level provide generous covered places to rest, chat and share a pot of tea with neighbours. The focal open-air swimming pond may become part of a healthy living routine for some residents, but will undoubtedly provide an attraction for visiting grandchildren!
Local Cotswold stone is utilised on principal facades and garden walls using both dry-stone and mortared wall construction. These textured enclosures, like their historic precedents, help to nurture a sense of protection while providing a visual expression of local craftsmanship. Pronounced chimneys and twin gable walls become a repeating architectural motif. These develop a contemporary expression of the Cotswold vernacular and extend the historically important regional Arts & Crafts tradition.
The AJ Architecture Awards recognise excellence in UK architecture across a range of categories, the winners will be announced at a ceremony at Exhibition London in November.