Wauchope Square phase 1was the first housing project built as part of the wider Craigmillar Joint Venture Regeneration Project (PARC) which aims to regenerate one of the most deprived areas in Scotland through building new shops, schools and housing.
A central idea of the project, which mixes private and social rented housing, was to provide traffic calmed ‘home zone’ streets with shared surfaces and street narrowing devices to slow traffic down and make walking and cycling more attractive. By creating high-quality roads and well-landscaped green spaces while moving buildings closer together people will be able to take control over the streets where they live and interact more as a community.
There is an 80%/20% private/public mix of housing in the 63 units built with a view to establish a mixed-tenure sustainable neighbourhood. There is a wide variety of units ranging from small garden flats to 3 bedroom terraced and detached houses and the simple palette of materials has been chosen to integrate all the various scales and types of property into a single consistent composition with buff brick, timber windows and zinc roof edging predominant.
The client (PARC) has sought to create a high-density sustainable development in an area which has traditionally had low density housing. Heights have been raised up to four storeys and the home zone streets have allowed buildings to be pushed closer together creating character in street spaces. The development bridges the existing scale of two storey terraces to the proposed scale of four storey tenements proposed along Niddrie Mains Road and the proposed new town centre beyond.
The Elevations have been designed to create different characters to individual streets. A dominant three/four storey block defines the wide parking street to Niddrie Mains Road. A straight street of two/three storey Town Houses and Houses edges the home-zone street with a series of recessed gardens. A mews street linking back to an existing cul-de sac is defined by a two staggered terrace blocks forming a sequence of stepped courtyards. Large glazed window-screens punctuate the main-south facing elevations maximising solar gain to main living areas.
Private Housing features built-in structured cabling to allow for future data points and whole-house entertainment systems to be installed in the future. There is a mix of timber framed and traditional construction in the development all designed to achieve higher than required levels of insulation. In addtion the developer has supplied A rated appliances. Green transport has been integrated within the development with cycle stores located in lobby areas on each floor and a Car Club space incorporated in the parking area.
At the rear of the main housing block there is a communal courtyard secured by perimeter gates providing a semi private recreational space to residents. Private gardens bordering this space have been given low fences and gates to maximise the impression of space and encourage community interaction.
Although the home-zone street network is at its early stages there is evidence to show residents taking more control of the streets. Children can be seen playing football or with radio-controlled toys in the street and residents have sometimes parked cars in the street to further cut down street widths to encourage cycling/walking.