Coates Way, Watford
Residential | Private Housing
This was a housing scheme for an unusual site in terms of its location relative to access roads; what was clearly the "front" of the site was directly accessible only via a footpath with the only road access to the rear. This meant that if arriving on foot or bicycle, you would naturally come to the front of the site, whereas if driving, it would be the back.
Given that the proposed houses on the site would likely be accessed daily from both the front (street) and rear (parking area and gardens), we wanted to create a porch/ entrance zone that accommodated this, and moved it to the side of the plan. This meant regardless of whether residents arrived via car, bike or foot they would enter the same space where shoes, coats etc. could be stored.
Relocating the porch created further opportunities to link the front and rear garden areas, and as the design developed, this idea of linked spaces became a recurring theme. The ground floor became open plan, with a living room at the rear and dining area at the front. The kitchen - the heart of the house in our opinion - linked the two spaces.
In section, a light filled void over the kitchen continued up to roof level. The bedrooms on the upper floors had attached snug/ study areas which were open to this space creating a vertical social zone running through the whole house.
Although the client was initially enthusiastic about the design, they ultimately asked us to submit a scheme for planning approval which closely resembled the other houses on the road, both in terms of appearance and layout. Whilst we were eventually able to do something slightly more interesting, the most exciting and unusual aspects of the layout were lost and - to us - the project became a missed opportunity.
The last image on this page shows the model of the final design. The scheme received planning approval in late 2020.