The project is located in Huntly Cresent, Raploch. Raploch is an area adjacent to Stirling, one of Scotland’s newest cities, with origins dating back to the 15th century. However it was during the 20th Century that Raploch’s current character was defined as it underwent a major transformation as the location of a large-scale housing development.
In the word of Raploch Urban Regeneration Company, the area had become an increasingly excluded community in relation to the wider Stirling area – in terms of its higher unemployment rates, poorer health, poorer quality housing, lower educational achievement and a lack of choice and opportunity.
In 2004 Raploch received Urban Regeneration pathfinder status by the then Scottish Executive (now Scottish Government) which provided a catalyst to transform Raploch into a 21st Century community by delivering a 10-year programme, involving the creation of 900 new homes, 225 training and job opportunities, infrastructure and public realm in the area.
Through effective partnership working, the overall aim of Raploch URC has been to build a community where people choose to live, work and visit, with new homes, education and health facilities, within an economically sustainable environment. A number of projects are already complete or underway, including a new community campus comprising nursery, primary and secondary schools and a community college; major construction projects including housing and commercial developments and the setting up of Raploch Community Enterprise to provide opportunities for young people in the area to gain construction skills, that can be developed through the regeneration works.
Huntly Crescent is a purpose-built “towards zero carbon” mixed use development, comprising of commercial shop units at the ground floor with residential accommodation above. This is intended as a “car free” development which takes advantage of its location at the heart of the new Raploch village centre. The new shop units sit at the back of an existing pavement, helping to frame and shape the adjacent public space.
The project involves the complete redevelopment of a recently cleared site within the estate. The plot was previously used for housing, which had been demolished leaving a clear, grassed site. Aspirations for the development were that:
- The building should be low energy using passive measures where practicable;
- The systems for the residential units should be designed to allow individual sale of each flat;
- The systems should be simple and easy to understand and install;
- The systems should be easily incorporated into the mass timber superstructure proposed for the project;
- The systems should be selected to assist with the certification of the scheme;
- The services for the retail units shall be provided for future fit-out once the units are leased;
- Penetrations through the building envelope should be carefully considered, located and detailed with the mass timber superstructure manufacturer.
From the outset, Anderson bell and Christie admit that they adopted a ‘fabric-first’ approach to the design. According to Project Architect Stephen Miles of Anderson Bell + Christie:
It was important that given the nature of the client and the tenant that the innovation of the project was simple and holistically integrated.
Recent experience in massive timber design from the BRE proposals – particularly looking at CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) again informed the ‘fabric first’ proposals. The CLT that we have utilised was manufactured by Storaenso in a bespoke factory in Austria using European spruce. CLT has a huge number of inherent properties which are innovative yet simple. The CLT has been designed to be left exposed within the living areas of the three apartments. A higher quality fair-faced finish was applied.
Huntly Crescent serves to highlight the benefits and introduce the Scottish construction industry to CLT.