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Cumnor Hill

A cluster of five large detached houses for HAB Housing that was founded by TV presenter and writer Kevin McCloud to challenge developer housing provision in the UK.
HAB’s first custom build scheme lies in Oxford’s Cumnor Hill and perfectly dovetails their aspiration to develop schemes that straddle the opportunities and social life that towns can offer with the beauty and tranquility of the open countryside. The site is settled in an upmarket area just two miles from the city centre and at the jumping off point to the Cotswolds.

The quantum and nature of the development was heavily influenced by the topography with more than an 8 metre slope in order to create a distinct and accessible environment suited to its context. The site layout provides a graduation of private, semi-private and shared space to give residents opportunities to enjoy the landscape and for social interaction.

The terraced courtyards create communal spaces, with semi-private threshold spaces defined by the landscape treatments to their perimeter. Vehicle circulation is undefined, hinted at by the design of the landscape so as to encourage a people centred environment.

Spaces have been defined by both the architecture and landscape, forming contrasting hard and soft landscape spaces and integrating landscape features such as swales, kerbs, landform and planting throughout. This creates a naturalistic and playful landscape structure.

The houses are designed to allow buyers to customise their internal accommodation, from 3 to 6 bedrooms and a variety of living space provisions, at ground and first floors.

Private rooftop terraces provide suntraps to the first floors of the buildings with private courtyards and simple soft landscape gardens of woodland character to the rear of the properties.

Externally, textured chalky brickwork affords continuity to the development, while red-brown pre-patinated zinc roofs and larch timber cladding provide a natural palette to the houses.

Client HAB Housing
Status Completed (2018)
GIA m2 (each house) 275-335 m2
Planning consultant GKA
Landscape architect Robert Bray Associates
Ecology Eco-Consult
Arboriculturalist Sylva Consultancy
Photography © Richard Chivers
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