New Apartment Block, Plymouth

The proposed new building should reflect contemporary thoughts on architecture and provide an innovative solution that respects the architectural history of the former Royal Naval Hospital site without resulting in a pastiche of the existing buildings.

An analysis of the site and existing surroundings and buildings has been carried out to determine what approach should be taken to the design of the new building in terms of massing, materials, proportions etc. The following observations have been made and are reflected in the design of the proposed building; In general the surrounding buildings (and indeed the existing Old dispensary Building being replaced) take the form of large single blocks, often with roofs hidden behind parapet eaves. The blocks are broken up and sub-divided by the use of symmetrically placed central vertical features and horizontal banding details.

The proposed new building has been designed as a large single block broken vertically into individual elements by the use of set backs in contrasting materials. Passive solar shading in the form of ‘briese soliel’ provide horizontal banding to the main south elevation, as does the horizontal timber cladding around the main square have a subsidiary tower element to the ends of the main blocks, possibly housing the vertical circulation. The proposal includes a subsidiary element to the south-west corner which is clad in a contrasting material to exaggerate its separation from the main building.

The predominant material on the whole site is a grey stone but the two buildings immediately adjacent to the Old Dispensary are constructed of a pale yellow brick, as is the existing Old Dispensary building as well.

The proposed building is to be faced in a pale material such as sweet chestnut timber or a pale terracotta system to pick up on the warmer yellow tones within the adjacent buildings. The slate cladding to the vertical elements with compliment the surrounding stonework.

Roofs are either slated or tiled and are generally hipped or mansard to the larger buildings to keep the overall roof form less imposing. The proposed mansard roof form is to be clad in sheet leadwork to provide a contrasting dark roof. The new building is proposed to have a central circulation core giving access to all the apartments above ground floor level. This circulation core with be topped with a glazed and louvred ‘chimney’ which will provide additional natural light to the central core but also aid natural ventilation through stack effect with warm air rising and fresh air being drawn in to the lower levels.