Pilgrim’s Court, How St, Plymouth
Pilgrim’s Court provides 12 x 1 bedroom apartments for adults with learning disabilities and assessed care needs requiring 24/7 support.
The site is located within the Plymouth Barbican Conservation Area, the boundary of which runs to the north side of Bretonside, directly to the north of the site. It was one of the earliest Conservation Areas in the country to be designated and has numerous listed buildings that occupy a tightly knit network of cobbled streets. Formerly a warehouse/fruit store and part of an existing Council car park, the site fronts onto How Street (South), Bretonside (North) and a small park adjacent to the Martins Gate School (East). To the west of the site is an existing building forming the offices of Gard and Co solicitors. There is an existing footpath to the east of the site separating the site from the small park, linking How Street to Bretonside. This is now a key route between the new ‘Barcode’ Drake Leisure Centre and the streets that lead to the historic Barbican waterfront.
The proposed building had to therefore address three sides of the site with an active frontage. The site also slopes from west down to east, following the same gradient as How Street itself. This combination of factors created a challenging set of constraints that have been addressed by the design team.
The design team addressed the Clients Project Brief within the site constraints taking account of the Councils Core Strategy, the emerging Joint Local Plan and the NPPF and Barbican Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan to create a sustainable development that creates a contemporary interpretation of the local vernacular housing that lines How Street and Looe Street. The design proposed a 3 storey residential building of facing brickwork under a natural slate pitched roof. The windows are grey, powder coated double glazed units in thermally broken aluminium frames. A dark brown engineering brick plinth ties in with adjacent buildings and provides a solid base. The main facades are constructed with a cream multi brick, and areas of cedar solid grade panelling on bay windows provide accent and relief. The overall scale, balance and warmth of the effect is aesthetically pleasing.
The proposal has a simple and elegant elevation to How Street, with window proportions and rhythm chosen to echo the listed Corporation housing opposite. The form opens up on its eastern side, with a roof garden, bay windows and additional stone faced cladding materials adding interest to the new pedestrian thoroughfare. The Bretonside elevation has a robust gable end, again using brickwork and bay windows to aid the legibility and visual interest of the building. The overall form and mass of the building has been kept intentionally simple, picking up on the surrounding architectural and historic cues, and helping to reinforce the quality of How Street. The site is an infill, that repairs this neglected part of Plymouth’s urban fabric.
The footprint of the proposal virtually covers the site and so a large terrace has been created on the roof of the communal lounge. This overlooks the small park and the new leisure centre and opens the corner of the building to its urban setting. The building has been designed with fabric first principals incorporating high levels of thermal insulation and utilising PV panels on the south facing roof slope. These are virtually invisible to the public as the height of the building and narrowness of the vista from the surrounding streets restricts long distance views of the buildings roofscape.
The design layouts and apartment plans were developed in consultation with the public sector stakeholders representing the RSL client, Social Service Special Needs Housing and Planning whilst managing a tight construction budget and working within the Source Framework Fee scale. The design team, client and public sector stakeholders are very proud of the completed scheme and it has consequently been entered by the Planning Department for the RTPI Design awards.