Malcolm Fraser Architects and Stewart Milne Homes recently won a Scottish Government run ideas competition for the ‘Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative’, which looked at one housing plot within a larger Cadell2 masterplan for the proposed development of Whitecross Village near Linlithgow. The critical question posed by the competition brief was not just to design a sustainable housing scheme, but also to examine how the principles of low carbon development might fit with ideas about good ‘place making’.
The site layout is designed to minimise the intrusion of cars in order to create secure, family focused places at the heart of the site. The resultant car-free recreation spaces are intended to create a sense of ownership for the family homes adjoining them, encouraging families to look beyond the boundaries of their own garden to take control of how these spaces are used and maintained and in doing so to start to foster and encourage a sense of community. Keeping the heart of the site free of cars also allowed us to propose the creation of a ‘green-spine’ which would connect the proposed new park at the north of the site (Steins Park) to the footpath along the edge of Manuel Burn and Haining Wood to the south.
Each individual home has a south facing garden in which the main living areas overlook and exploit a passive solar design strategy. At its most basic this involves a highly thermally efficient wall and roof construction, with external shading to minimise heat gain in summer, combined with a simple efficient natural stack ventilation system to evacuate and distribute rising warm air throughout the year.
The competition winning scheme has been featured in the CICStart Innovation Review Issue 5 December 2010.