ABBEY QUARTER PHASE III, PAISLEY
DO-Architecture on behalf of the LINK Group have submitted planning permission for the erection of a 26-unit residential development on an urban site in the heart of Paisley, replacing the former Arnotts Department Store in the town's new 'Abbey Quarter' .
The new building has a responsibility to activate Smithhills Street on a 24-hour basis, however with this responsibility to address townscape issues comes an equally weighted responsibility to the future residents in providing them with a suitable threshold between public street and private internal space. Our strategy ensures that the provision of urban living with street connection does not compromise the basic concern of achieving privacy.
The urban location of the site provides very good access to public transport, employment, education and retail, making this a highly desirable location to live and one where car ownership is not essential. A relationship to the semi-established courtyard to the rear of the proposal is created with bin and cycle storage acting as a buffer to the proposed completed road ‘loop’. Footpaths through a central amenity space are envisaged to align to the natural walking paths linking the rear or the development to the adjacent Lawn Street.
We propose to break the 26 flatted units down into 3 smaller stairwell clusters with 8 flats at two 4 storey blocks and 10 flats at a single 5 storey block. The 2-flat landing arrangement is envisaged to encourage neighbourliness while the common areas of each property are fully accessible from Smithhills Street. The glazed stairwell to the rear encourages supervision to the rear while creating common sunlit landing spaces where tenants can occupy and feel a sense of ownership.
An uncomplicated stacking plan with a carefully selected material palette and restriction to 3 window types are being implemented into the design. This allows focus on the creation of well planned interior spaces which are a ordered generous daylight and sunlight, and which make a strong visual connection to the street and community wherein they are located.
The proposed public facade at Smithhills Street is ordered and artificially thickened, paying homage to the thick-walled buildings of its context. This is achieved by placing the building frame at the pavement line while the interior inhabited building line is set back some 1.2m from the street. The 1.2m set-back establishes a defensible threshold between private interior living spaces and the street, thereby psychologically taking ownership of that street connection. This is particularly important at the North end of the site adjacent to the public house. This newly created buffer zone then allows for balconies to be created for each individual flat, affording some private external space to each new tenant.
Conversely, the rear facade is of much more domestic scale with bed- room widows facing onto the newly connected courtyard. Large glazed stairwells allows the blocks to be broken up while windows are recessed within their stacks to allow some verticality to be given to the elevation.