Pickwick House, Coleg Elidyr

A fast track project to provide new low energy residential accommodation for a community charity providing education and training for young people with autism, learning difficulties and disabilities.

Image of the sustainable community building exterior with PV panels on the roof Image of the sustainable community building exterior with PV panels on the roof
Image of the community building exterior with single and double storey Image of the community building exterior with single and double storey
Image of the community building entrance porch with timber column Image of the community building entrance porch with timber column
Image showing community building exterior in natural stone with large vertical openings Image showing community building exterior in natural stone with large vertical openings
Image showing community building exterior in natural stone, white render and natural timber fascia Image showing community building exterior in natural stone, white render and natural timber fascia
Image of a unique double height hallway with roof light and exposed timber structure Image of a unique double height hallway with roof light and exposed timber structure
Image of a bright communal living and dining area Image of a bright communal living and dining area
Image of a bright and naturally lit communal living area with tall ceiling and exposed timber ridge beam Image of a bright and naturally lit communal living area with tall ceiling and exposed timber ridge beam
Pickwick House, Coleg Elidyr

A fast track project to provide new low energy residential accommodation for a community charity providing education and training for young people with autism, learning difficulties and disabilities.

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Pickwick House, Coleg Elidyr

Coleg Elidyr https://elidyrct.ac.uk/ near Rhandyrmwyn north of Carmarthen is a part of the Elidyr Communities Trust, one of the Camphill Community Charities providing further education and training as part of an inclusive spatial and working environment for young people with autism, learning difficulties and disabilities. The mission is to enable young people to develop their knowledge and skills to reach their full potential, while living and working in a community and for their accommodation to provide a robust but homely domestic character at the same time as meeting all required standards.

Our clients at Coleg Elidyr had shelved a project in 2007 as unaffordable, tendered at just under £1m for a 466sqm part 2 storey house: the challenge we had 9 years later was to redesign, within the still current planning consent, a new house value-engineered down to £3/4m.

Hetreed Ross Architects took on the challenge and offered a major improvement in environmental performance, close to Passivhaus standards, with serious savings achieved via a reassessment of the site and much simpler structural design and a swift but cautious procurement via 2 stage tender to ensure project viability.

The resulting house – 8 bedrooms and living spaces below and a 4 bedroom apartment above has kept to the prevailing Camphill style of sweeping slate rooves, local stone and rendered elevations, in all masonry construction for practical durability, with triple-glazed windows, underfloor heating, heat reclaim ventilation, bespoke fitted furniture, the required fire suppressant sprinkler system and even a modest PV array, as well as air tightness below 1AC/hr at 50 pascals.  

The programme was demanding too: from being appointed in January 2016, we achieved the revised planning consent and detailed design to tender issue in May and a start on site in July with completion achieved the following autumn, still on budget despite various difficulties en route.

Structural Engineers: Rexon Day Consulting

Environmental Engineers: Green Gauge Building Energy Consultants

Contractors: Welsh Heritage Construction Ltd

Hetreed Ross Architects are RIBA Chartered Architects and Environmental Designers, for Bath, Bristol, Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Dorset and the South West. AECB, EASA and Green Register members.

© Hetreed Ross Architects 2021

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