This scheme, for a development within walking distance of the centre of Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim, is highly influenced by the philosophy of the ‘Essex Town Guide’. The goals of the scheme are (a) to avoid the banality of low density semi-D suburbs, (b) maximise solar orientation, (c) build with the contours of the site where possible, (d) promote social interaction, walking and bikes, and (e) control the car.
Housing is either terraced in strong urban forms or detached and partially hidden in a heavily wooded setting. Cycle and pedestrian routes permeate the site and cars either share the paved surfaces with pedestrians in the ‘home zone’ or are parked under double lines of trees along the main boulevard.
There are no front gardens, therefore no cars in front of the houses to push the street way and break down the sense of containment. Instead paths pass close to the front of the houses, separated by high planters. Window proportions and level changes from inside to path outside ensure that privacy is guarded as per traditional streetscapes.
Three-storey houses are used to bookend or centre ranges of houses. The ‘home zone’ has terraced housing fronted with double-height atria facing south onto the shared surface and straight onto the central parkland. The boulevard housing presents an urban face to the street to its north, while the south rear of the house opens to the sun and long gardens.
Passive solar gain, solar panels, heat recovery ventilation, shelter from trees and ventilation stacks are among the environmental features.