The award-winning Chapter House is a later living community of 38 homes for people over 60. Vandersanden worked closely with Procter & Matthews Architects throughout the development.
The homes are by Pegasus, now part of Lifestory, set within one of Lichfield’s important central conservation areas.
The design draws inspiration from the characteristic historic morphology of Lichfield’s walled gardens and the original cloistered form of the demolished medieval friary which once occupied the site.
Brick is the dominant material throughout the scheme, providing rich texture and colour. To achieve exactly the right aesthetic, innovative manufacturer Vandersanden worked with Procter & Matthews Architects throughout the development of the brickwork details.
Careful attention has been paid to the texture and materiality of the building. Constanze Jaczynska, director, Proctor and Matthews Architects, explains: “Red brick, inspired by the traditional ‘Lichfield brick’, was chosen for the entrance façade and walled element which wraps around the site, linking the building with the historical surroundings.
“The use of contrasting white bricks within the central courtyard helps to bounce light around the space, creating a bright and inviting landscaped focal space at the heart of the development.”
The main facing bricks are Vandersanden’s Aalborg with their water-struck, rich red texture. These are bedded in either natural coloured or black grey mortar, depending on their location.
Providing a striking contrast, the expanses of Vandersanden’s Creme stocks are bedded in white mortar. Both bricks are an elegant, narrow 50mm high – an innovation that helps to minimise the mass of the Chapter House development.
Remnants of the friary’s ancient walled structures remain at Chapter House. The distinctive gables and chimneys of the Bishop’s Lodging and a linear walled garden, known locally as the Monk’s Walk, provide key markers within the site.
Around these, a series of public and communal pathways, gardens, oak-lined cloisters and courtyards have been created. The pitched roofs and large chimney of the new buildings reference the nearby historic structures. On top of this, dormer windows articulate the long frontage elevations.
A colonnade on the north-western side provides further articulation and a visual contrast alongside ridged brick panels and timber panelling.
On the upper storeys, deep reveals to the windows are set within thick, protective textured brickwork walls. The distinctive, vertically ribbed ‘corduroy’ brickwork – a mixture of dark red and blue bricks – to the upper floors is configured to visually mitigate the height of the building. This provides a feeling of warmth and texture to the exterior facades.
Proctor and Matthews Architects were already aware of Vandersanden from previous projects. They were assisted by the company throughout the development of the brickwork details.
Constanze adds: “The rich textures and colours of the Vandersanden bricks helped us to successfully integrate the new building in the historic context and provide the visual and physical quality we were looking for. We were impressed by the helpful and prompt assistance we received from the company.
Chapter House received two awards. One being the HAPPI Award at the Housing Design Awards. The other being the Best Community Living Award at the Sunday Times British Homes Awards in 2018.
The building has also proved very popular with residents, including George and Wendy Arblaster. They enthused: “Our euphoria has been enhanced by the character of the building itself.
“Although this is a modern high spec building it is also reminiscent of a building that has grown organically over time…and one which enhances the lives of its residents.”
Further information on Chapter House can be found here.
Details on Proctor and Matthews Architects are available at https://www.proctorandmatthews.com/.
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