Hargood Close is a winning competition in Colchester Essex designed to temporarily accommodate vulnerable people and their families. Completed in 2013, the development’s design successfully meets the needs of homeless individuals and their families. Drawing inspiration from 19th Century local almshouses, the buildings and landscaped spaces have been designed to emulate the domestic character of this traditional housing model.
Following the typical spatial arrangements of almshouses, dwellings are grouped into six building clusters arranged around two landscaped courtyards. Due to the nature of development, it was important that the new accommodation felt inviting and homely as oppose to institutional. To this end, the scale and public realm qualities of traditional almshouses felt appropriate. One of the key factors contributing towards achieving this was the choice in materiality. External perforated red brick panels and internal vertically expressed timber panels, provide a warm palette of colours and textures. Viewed from the exterior, these brick panels provide the scheme with its distinctly unique character through the use of a more contemporary approach to the craft of the brickwork.
Accommodation consists of 35 dwellings in total and includes a mix of studios, one and two bedroom dwellings and family houses. Unit types were designed to provide flexibility for staff to respond to the differing living requirements of its changing tenants. In addition, the design also provides improved spaces for both on-site and visiting staff, a communal space, meeting rooms and a secure children’s play area.