WHAT architecture - London

Coalwharf Road

Coalwharf Road Design Competition
Scale1170 sqm
LocationWisbech, Cambridgeshire - UK
ClientFenland District Council
Budget€ 1200000
Design Year2013

In recognition of the residential nature of the adjoining properties, Housing was considered the most sensitive land use which would sustain and enhance this part of the Conservation Area. The organization of the housing was in turn influenced by the special character of the site, namely its corner quality. A corner site offers the potential of multiple aspects. So whilst the proposal is empathetic towards the adjoining terrace in terms of massing and materiality, its configuration differs because of the corner. Terrace housing presents a dual aspect, a ‘front-and-back’ outlook. Our proposal lays out the site in ‘quadruple aspect’ in recognition of the varying conditions influencing the four site boundaries: the river to the North, neighbourly engagement to the East, the trees to the South (or more neighbourly relations to the South should this vacant land (124) also be later developed).


The site is partitioned into a 6 x 5 grid with each squares measuring approx. 30sqm. Each of the six properties occupies five squares (150sqm).  One square is allocated for access and parking; two squares for the footprint of the house footprint and two squares are a private 60sqm garden. Each garden has two types of quality to maximize outdoor living: a timber terrace for eating and soft landscaping for gardening etc. Although a number of the existing trees will need to be removed, new semi mature trees will be planted around the site. An existing large mature tree will be retained to ‘anchor’ the gardens.


As such we propose an innovative and more sustainable suburban housing typology where open-plan flexible houses are integrated with outdoor spaces to increase the sense of space and light.