Sheltered housing, Saffron Walden, Essex
Walden Place sheltered housing was built in the 1980’s by converting a Grade 11 Listed Georgian house and extending it with a C-shaped block of two-storey flats. It sits at the north, top end of a sloping walled public park in the centre of town.
The south facing Georgian house is a symmetrical block sitting grand at the top of the park, three storeys and a basement, common rooms on the ground floor, three flats on the upper floors.
The 26 flats of Walden Place itself, are housed in a C-shaped two-storey block orientated with the house, partially enclosing a lawn. The north branch of the C is connected along the north wall of the Georgian house at ground level to provide a main entrance to the facility at this point.
In this proposal, the single-storey entrance structures adjoining the original house and a two-storey end section of the north wing of Walden Place (containing 2 flats) are removed and replaced with a new two-storey block against the east end of the south branch of Walden Place, square with the Georgian house, down the hill and set back from the west wall of the Georgian house to preserve and enhance views from and to the park, of and for the house. This new block will be the new entrance to Walden Place, with the main entrance door in the east wall.
This east wall continues north towards the Georgian house, stepping west again to enclose the courtyard and to make for a long cloister, which retains the level change between the Georgian garden and the new cloister garden. The cloister ends with a new gable to the north wing of Walden Place to continue the boundary.
A new enclosed, peaceful cloister garden is made, planted with a mix of trees and low lying edibles, fragrant shrubs and flowers throughout the year, created and managed by residents.
The south elevation of the main block continues around the corner from the east, with the main roof pitch running with the main park slope, so that the two-storey building has low eaves on this side, a central gable and dormer. From the south, the Georgian house at the top of the park is dominant, its eaves some 10m higher than the new building in the landscape.
Service: Feasibility Study
Location: Saffron Walden, Essex