We were appointed by Heaton Group Developments to convert a two storey former office building within Preston city centre.
Having reviewed the site, and up-and-coming planning policy documents, we advised upon designing a much larger building to take advantage of the city council’s aspirations for the area.
We moved forward with the design of a building that took account of both the opportunity and its neighbours, resulting in a part-6, -8, -10, -13 and part-15 storey residential-led mixed use development, creating a total of 176 apartments and 3,850 sq. ft. of commercial space.
Our challenge was to propose a considered strategy for a building that would incorporate two key elements. It had to simultaneously act as a ‘landmark’ building, as well as integrate seamlessly with the character of the surrounding buildings to help enhance a sense of place.
Full planning consent was achieved for the construction, alongside the demolition of the existing vacant two storey commercial building. Being located at the junction of Pole Street and Percy Street within Preston city centre, the site was considered a ‘gateway’ site along a key corridor within the city. As such, the proposal was consistent with the Local Authority’s strategy of focus upon growth and investment in the city.
The proposed design met the requirements to create a ‘landmark’ building within the Church Street/Percy Street area of the Stoneygate Framework Masterplan. The height, scale and mass of the proposal was considered entirely appropriate within its immediate context, when considered through the lens of the Stoneygate Framework Masterplan.
The form of the building was specifically designed to reduce the visual impact of its height and mass upon neighbouring properties and this was achieved by splitting the accommodation into two vertical elements, stepping these down in height, and creating an external appearance of real depth and interest; not a slab block.
We proposed the use of materials that complemented the existing buildings in the area to help enhance the required sense of place. The proposals also reflected the scale of the existing buildings nearby through the creation of a ‘podium’ section comprising the floor levels from ground to third floor. This element of the design helps the building integrate with its neighbours and creates a more attractive human-scale at street level.