Beckery Island Regeneration

Self-finish housing, Beckery Old Road, Glastonbury.

For Beckery Island Regeneration Trust. Glastonbury, UK. 2013.

Architectural Designer and Planning Consultant.

A terrace of twelve houses developed on behalf of the Beckery Island Regeneration Trust as part of a university internship programme.

The aspiration of BIRT is to develop housing that is affordable for young families in Glastonbury. This was the foundation of our brief.

Through a critical look into the opportunities and constraints of the small site two landscape strategies were identified. These landscape strategies were further informed by our research into affordable housing and resulting approach – self-finish housing.

Prior to development, the site largely consisted level shrubland, with an uneven topsoil and surface littered with a large quantity of loose stone and rock. The bedrock in the area is well known for its Liassic strata of limestone.

There are two water courses on the site that create an island within the centre. These water courses play host to a variety of aquatic species including newts and freshwater clams, adding to the sites flourishing ecology and biodiversity.

The surrounding areas have previously been heavily industrialised. The Glove Factory Buildings, one of the remaining pieces of architectural heritage in the area from the industrial and commerce period, is Grade II listed. These Glove Factory Buildings are derelict and have become a proposed site for future phases of regeneration under BIRT’s wider masterplan. The factories’ close proximity adds to the rich context of the site.

The more critical factors, in addition to the more obvious environmental characteristics of the site, are:

–  The proximity of the sewage works

–  Flood risk zoning – Zone 2 and  Zone 3

–  Existing ecology

–  Archaeological assets

Our studies into flexible housing and self-build homes led to the identification of two house types for this site, A and B.

The main principle for House Type A is to provide an extreme form of flexibility. The occupant is provided with an empty shell where they can finish building their home including the stair.

Through the development of the project it became clear that each differing staircase design and orientation lent itself to a certain life style; further influenced by the future life stages of its owner/occupier.

A flow chart was developed to help define use of space(s) and ultimately allow the occupiers to identify the floor plan that is most applicable to their current life style and future plans as their situation changes.

Differing construction systems were identified to provide affordability and flexibility. These were documented so that the occupier could refer to the systems and construct their home to maximise the potential for future changes.

Ultimately, the level of flexibility within each home was constrained by the building services. Waste water is the primary limitation due to the floor zone required to provide efficient and compliant flow rates.

To provide the maximum flexibility required for both House Type A and House Type B the site required an additional sewer line running parallel to the rear of the houses.

Both sewers allow for internal spaces to be interchangeable or wholly redefined by the self-builder, providing an array of varying current and future uses as shown.

A landscape strategy to redirect the leat.

A landscape strategy to retain the leat and protect the ecology.

Example plan arrangements for both House Type A and House Type B.

The studies and investigations for the project were compiled into a report and presented to Beckery Island Regeneration Trust.

Architectural drawings and a Design and Access Statement were prepared to allow BIRT to submit a planning application for the project.