Riverside 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 41 one and two bed independent living apartments alongside re-providing an existing community centre with associated garden and Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA).

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 upper floor flats benefit from dual aspect, with a visual connection to the shared atrium space assisting in combating social isolation.

The building is arranged as a linear form running north–south and is composed as a series of pitched gabled bays stepping from five storeys to the north down to three storeys to the south in response to its primarily low-rise residential context. Accommodation is spread across all floors, with all apartments benefiting from private external amenity space in the form of recessed balconies or gardens. The ground floor provides residents access to a shared lounge and garden, alongside staff and back of house areas.

The new community centre is interlinked with the main residential building and extends as a single storey to the east, addressing the new community garden and MUGA.

A simple and robust palette of materials is proposed, with generous, well-proportioned openings being arranged as a series of subtle horizontal bands, expressed through changes in orientation and relief, that reference the immediate and wider context.

Cardiff City Council

Housing Design Awards shortlist 30.03.22

Planning approval for Riverside community living scheme 16.12.21