Putting each principle of the HAPPI report into practice to provide 60 independent living homes for affordable rent and communal facilities for people over the age of 55 with varying care needs.
The Courtyards is an extra care housing scheme in Preston that we designed for Community Gateway Association, a community-led organisation that empowers residents and local people to shape its services and improve their homes.
Inspired by our previous guiding role in the HAPPI Report, we integrated all ten best practice principles to lead this project, from concept to completion, to ensure the residents’ wellbeing and care needs are met in a welcoming environment. The development sets a new benchmark for high-quality homes that provide a sense of community, while offering a range of amenities to cater for residents’ particular requirements.
60 apartments, split into 40 two-bed and 20 one-bed homes, are arranged around two landscaped courtyards and set within existing mature trees, affording all residents a strong connection to nature. The external space serves multiple purposes as a place to gather, exercise and relax by including gym equipment, a variety of seating options, raised planting beds and a gently rippling water feature.
A striking black barn sits between the courtyards and provides a focus for communal living, containing offices, activity room, hair and beauty salon, laundry, lounge/games room and medical treatment rooms. This centralised provision contributes hugely to social life at the development, especially the bistro, which can cater for internal events as well as act as a function space for local people.
Our goal was to promote communality in the residential areas. This was reflected in numerous design decisions, such as balconies that look over the courtyards and walking routes, and kitchen windows that face onto walkways so that neighbours see each other while passing by. Seating in the corridors is well-used and supports a convivial atmosphere, while helping to tackle loneliness.
Each apartment is spacious enough to suit the needs of residents who use a wheelchair or scooter and could be adapted to provide a full range of supporting equipment. Generous natural light and cross ventilation is possible thanks to each apartment being dual-aspect, promoting health and wellbeing within homes, as well as in the more public areas.