The brief for this project was for new build council housing on an in-fill sites in Henbury in North Bristol. The site was previously occupied by garages and is located the rear of existing post war council housing. As a council with an ambitious sustainability strategy it was important that all new housing projects provided an exemplary approach to reducing energy use and tackling fuel poverty.

Project Profile: Challender Court, Bristol UK
Studio Name: Emmett Russell Architects
Team Members: Tom Russell, Victoria Emmett, Rachel Witham, Julia Wilson

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Consultant Design Team:

Architects: Emmett Russell Architects,
Landscape Architects: Roundfield
Building Energy and Services: Greengauge Building Energy
Structural Engineer: Structural Solutions
Building Type: Social Housing
Year: 2019
Location: Henbury, Bristol
Photography Credits: Craig Auckland, Fotohaus

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©Emmett Russell Architects

This site on the Northern fringe of Bristol is buried within a suburban block, surrounded by post-war housing and was previously occupied by garages. Most of the housing stock in this area is made up of semi-detached and terraced houses and this project addresses a need in the area for smaller units. Challender Court provides eight one bedroom flats. The key challenge was to make efficient use of these tight sites whilst avoiding any overlooking to neighbouring properties.

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©Emmett Russell Architects

Early discussions with the planners highlighted concerns about the proximity of the development to neighbouring gardens. This led to a sectional strategy for the Challender Court Project that provides light and airy first floor flats whilst minimising views into neighbouring gardens. This was achieved by introducing roof lights rather than windows to the north of the building (over the kitchen and bathroom) and providing a screened balcony on the sunnier southern side. The louvred screen is angled inwards to allow light in whilst reducing downwards views. The balcony screens step down at the sides to open up and allow longer oblique views.

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©Emmett Russell Architects

It was important to minimise the impact of vehicles on this tight sites. By concentrating the parking close to the site entrance the design team were able to create a safe, shared amenity space for residents in front of the dwellings.

The project has won a number of awards including two RIBA awards.

Emmett Russell Architects

Emmett Russell Architects are a Bristol based architectural practice engaged in a broad portfolio of work including projects in housing, urban design, education, community buildings as well as bespoke residential projects. The practice was formed in 2014 and draws on the wide experience of its two directors, Victoria Emmett and Tom Russell, both of whom previously held key positions in nationally and internationally respected practices.

ERA have developed a reputation for imaginative and ambitious designs within the constraints of existing buildings and sensitive sites. They have won a number of high profile architectural competitions including two National RIBA competitions and the international Europan 9 competition.


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