- Qs / Cdm Coordinator: Faithful+Gould
- City: Belfast
- Country: United Kingdom
Text description provided by the architects. This project is one of 2 proposed Homes from Home for Clic Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people and their families. Homes from Home offer families free self-catering accommodation close to the main Regional Cancer Centres. If they are well enough, the child or young person can stay there too. The atmosphere is relaxed and non-clinical, friendly and welcoming.
The site is on Belfast's Falls Road, located directly opposite the Children's Cancer Centre, and comprises 2 pre-existing Victorian adjoining dwellings in a terrace. In the 100 years or more since it was built, the block has suffered considerable degradation, being subjected to that kind of alteration and adaptation common with many housing terraces in Belfast.
The design aspiration was to create a calm and peaceful domestic environment removed from both the harsh reality of the hospital and the liveliness of the busy street. We also sought to stitch a contemporary building into the existing fabric of an historic but degraded terrace. The proposal is for a contemporary building, essentially domestic in function and character, and which does not seek to mimic the existing houses in terms of architectural devices but which rather seeks to build a harmonious relationship with the pre-existing by rigorous respect for its core architecture character.
To the front, the design reflects the adjoining building and roof lines and the scale and rhythm of bays, windows and dormers evident in the terrace.
To the rear, exploiting the inconsistent existing returns and extensions of adjacent buildings, we have disregarded precedent: opening windows wider and taller than at the front to address the open, almost rural views and to enjoy the setting sun. Here also, the plan is deeply recessed to one side to create a small landscaped courtyard to the rear, providing a quiet place for reflection, an outdoor children’s play area and eliminating a risk of overlooking from the building to its adjoining neighbours. A recessed balcony offers relief in the architectural expression, and outdoor space for users.
Windows in the masonry skin are deeply recessed to the front elevation offering protection from the busy street, and flush with the robust brick facades to the rear in response to the surprise of the open views of the hills. The evening sun falling on the bedrooms and living room is filtered through the leafy branches of a screen of trees.
The construction employs a timber frame. The new brick is of a hue and texture which resonates with the original ‘Belfast brick’. Dark slate and zinc roofs complete the palette.