Bute Street is one of three ‘Community Living’ schemes that are being developed concurrently by Cardiff Council as part of their Older Persons Housing Strategy. The proposal looks to create 45 one and two bed independent living apartments to replace existing provision in the Butetown area that has become unsuitable for the current needs of its residents.

The design has developed as a specific response to the housing requirements of its users, with the core principles established by HAPPI (Housing our Ageing Population Panel for Innovation) being used to guide the process. This has led to the adoption of an innovative atrium block typology that allows the circulation areas to become activated as spaces for social interaction, the provision of daylight and to aid in legibility and orientation through the establishment of visual connections. All flats benefit from dual aspect, with a visual connection to the shared atrium space assisting in combating social isolation.

The building is composed as a series of three volumes, rising to six stories on the corner of Bute Street and Hannah Street before stepping down towards the west and south. Roof areas are used as amenity space for residents and to promote biodiversity. All apartments are located on the upper floors, with the ground floor providing residents access to a shared lounge and garden, alongside staff and back of house areas. The ground floor also provides facilities for the wider community including a flexible activity space and gym.

A simple and robust palette of materials is proposed. Elevations are arranged as a rational series of stacked elements with a focus on the proportion and generosity of openings to provide residents with excellent daylight levels and external connection while linking the building to its context within Cardiff Bay.

Cardiff City Council

Housing Design Awards shortlist 30.03.22