Ford Gilpin Riley Architects
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King William Street, Exeter

Client: Greenacre Homes
Area: 4,000 m²
Stage: Completed in May 2004
Building costs: circa £4m
Description: 42 New Dwellings

This development is located on the site of a former coachworks and repair garage at St Sidwell’s right in the heart of Exeter’s city centre. It comprises a total of 42 dwellings in a mix of town-houses and apartments. The development includes an element of affordable housing.

The design for the site breaks down into 2 quite distinct areas. To the south, on a level plateau of land which adjoins Acland Road, there is a courtyard arrangement of flats. Here the buildings are not too tall, so as to avoid turning the street into a “canyon”. To the north, however, where the land falls away, we devised a strong built frontage to King William Street. This took the form of a “modern terrace” of 3 storey townhouses, the signature roofline of which reflects the gradient of the road. The terrace has superb views across the Longbrook Valley towards Pennsylvania.

This scheme represents one of the first of our more overtly-modern designs for a residential development in the city. Previously, in order to obtain planning consent, it had been necessary to propose buildings with a more, shall we say, “traditional” appearance.

The use of materials is both familiar and “locally distinctive”. The prevalent theme is of red-brown face brickwork elevations and blue-black slate roofs. This general palette is relieved by lighter Portland stone string courses and some rendered panels.

As a result, the scheme fits seamlessly within its setting, despite being a clearly modern design.

© Ford Gilpin Riley Ltd, Ford House, Broadclyst, Exeter, Devon, England EX5 3HU
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