Worcester’s only three high rise housing blocks had changed little since they were constructed in the 1970’s; they were cold, draughty and locally, regarded as something of an eyesore. Comprising 144 one and two bedroom flats, a low- rise, and therefore lower density, redevelopment of the site was simply not a viable option. Fortis Living were keen to give the buildings a new lease of life and extend their functional life well into the future.
Now used to provide a sheltered housing scheme for the over 55’s, there was also a need to reflect the different needs of their current occupants.
External wall insulation and replacement windows have slashed heating bills, whilst glazed balcony screens now keep the pigeons at bay. Automated smoke louvres have turned the once draughty circulation spaces into a comfortable, tempered, indoor environment.
A structural insulated render system was selected for the overcladding due to the poor state of the existing external cavity walls . The good condition of the main concrete frame, allowed the system to span from floor to floor.
The overcladding presented an ideal opportunity to address the appearance of the blocks. Their previously dark and horizontally banded facades have been replaced with a lighter treatment featuring greater vertical emphasis. The block’s formerly clumsy roof parapets have also been replaced with a slimmer, more elegant halo feature.
On a practical level, the bin stores have been overhauled, storage and charging facilities introduced for mobility scooters, and the ageing lifts replaced with new faster and more spacious versions.
The previously under utilised roofs have been transformed with two blocks gaining roof terraces. The third block gained another storey with the creation of a communal sky lounge which is open to residents of all the blocks. The sky lounge makes the most of the only aerial panoramic view of the historic city, River Severn and Malvern Hills.
DJD Architects worked closely with the client, Fortis Living and main contractor, Mears, throughout the project. The work also included significant resident engagement, involving them in the process and ensuring that their needs and experiences of living in the buildings were taken on board.