The Triangle Homes, Swindon Building, GreenSquare Housing Project, Property Design

The Triangle housing, England : Swindon Architecture

Residential Development for Hab Oakus in England, UK

22 Jun 2012

The Triangle Swindon Award

Design: Glenn Howells Architects

RIBA Awards 2012 Citation:

The Triangle

Through a series of quiet, considered moves, this project has established itself as an exemplar for low-cost, environmentally responsible, social housing, with higher densities than the client expected (42 homes in all).

The Triangle Swindon The Triangle Swindon The Triangle Swindon The Triangle Swindon
photos : Paul Raftery

The houses are a thoughtful re-interpretation of the terrace vernacular, making the most of a limited palette of materials. The terrace is articulated with chimney-like ventilation stacks, well-proportioned windows and the use of gabions to modify the visual impact of the car. The house plans are compact, yet sectional heights are stretched and windowsills dropped, creating homes that feel surprisingly spacious.

The balance of public, communal and private spaces is one of the great successes of the project and demonstrates the importance of good public realm design in creating sustainable communities and desirable places to live.

The Triangle Swindon – RIBA Awards winner, 2012

The Triangle Swindon – Building Information

Location: Northern Road, Swindon
Architect: Glen Howells Architects
Client: Hab Oakus
Structural Engineer: Curtins Consulting
Contractor: Willmott Dixon
Contract Value: £ 4,200,000
Date of completion: Sep 2011
Gross internal area: 3,465 sqm

The Triangle housing images / information from RIBA

The Triangle Swindon


Design: Glenn Howells Architects

News Update

14 Oct 2009

Planning permission received for Hab Oakus – joint venture between TV presenter Kevin McCloud’s development company, Hab, and the housing group GreenSquare. Site start due in early 2010.

The Triangle Swindon
image : Glenn Howells Architects

After many years of Grand Designs – where Kevin observes people trying to build a wide range of houses – the project will no doubt come under a lot of scrutiny. The aspirations appear very positive, this site wishes the venture well.

Press Release 15 Oct 2009


Hab Oakus, a joint venture between Kevin McCloud’s development company, Hab, and housing group GreenSquare, has won planning permission for its first project. The Triangle, a 42-home sustainable development, will be built on the site of a former caravan park and plant nursery just off Swindon’s Northern Road.

The designs, by Glenn Howells Architects with landscape architects Studio Engleback, are informed by Hab Oakus’ fundamental principles – a strong sense of community, a belief in the importance of public space, respect for cyclists and pedestrians, and a commitment to sustainable lifestyles and outstanding contextual design. The houses will be built to Code 4 in the Code for Sustainable Homes with the potential to be upgraded to Code 5. Hab Oakus is working with Swindon Borough Council and local people to ensure that the Triangle project serves as a springboard to introduce initiatives such as car clubs and local food networks which will benefit the wider community and Swindon as a whole.

Hab Oakus Housing
image : Glenn Howells Architects

‘We have been bowled over by the level of support from local people. It’s clear there’s a real hunger for a fresh approach to housing, and a very real interest in living more sustainable lives. The decision to grant the Triangle planning permission demonstrates Swindon’s very real commitment to becoming known for beautifully designed housing, thriving communities and a forwardlooking approach to the environment’.

David Ashmore, group chief executive of GreenSquare Group, said, ‘we are really pleased to be working with Hab on this innovative project; it’s not just about delivering great new homes but also about helping to create a community in which all residents are happy to live.’

The project is due to start on site in the new year with completion by Christmas 2010.

Hab is residential development company established by the broadcaster, author and designer Kevin McCloud. Its aims is to deliver successful, distinctive, contextual developments in urban, suburban and rural areas that are embedded in the local community, are environmentally-friendly, sustainable and beautifully designed.

GreenSquare Group is a pioneering housing, regeneration and social investment agency working throughout Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire and surrounding areas with offices Swindon, Oxford and Chippenham. It is a lead development partner for the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and will be providing over 1,000 new homes between now and 2012.


The Triangle Community, Swindon

Hab Oakus has just submitted its planning application for ‘The Triangle’, a 42-unit sustainable community on a brownfield infill site to the north of Swindon city centre. The project, by Glenn Howells Architects working with landscape architect Studio Engleback and environmental engineer Max Fordham, seeks to create a contemporary interpretation of Swindon’s mid-Victorian railway cottages – flexible, affordable and efficient to build and manage.

The scheme consists of two and two-and- a-half storey terraces comprising two, three, and four-bedroom homes around a central village green. The east and west terraces are both terminated by three-storey corner blocks, each housing three apartments and providing focal points as you enter and leave the site.

Dwellings have been designed to meet Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes and are ‘future-proofed’ with the fixings, connections and space to allow the retro-fitting of solar thermal and PV panels.

The architectural expression is deliberately low-key, deriving its character from perfect proportions, carefully-defined details and high-quality execution; a well-ordered backdrop which will allow the extensive landscaping and greenery to define the character of the site. The roofline is punctuated by chimney-like ventilation cowls. A subtle colour palette, drawn from Swindon’s urban fabric, adds a sense of depth to the facades. Gabion walls to the front of the dwellings minimise the visual impact of car parking, conceal meter cupboards, recycling and bins while providing nooks and crannies to encourage wildlife.

As well as private rear gardens, the scheme provides a range of public and semi-public spaces to encourage recreational use, hobby gardening and strong social interaction between neighbours. The central green includes a wet meadow, which forms part of the sustainable drainage strategy, and a wildlife garden as well as an area for community activities and informal children’s play. The kitchen garden in the north east corner of the site will be planted with fruit trees with raised beds and soft hedging while the southern kitchen garden will house poly-tunnels in order to extend the season and range of crops grown.

Existing trees are to be protected where possible and will be supplemented by locally-occurring native species trees and shrubs. The landscape strategy throughout the scheme maximises the opportunities for food production with kitchen gardens, vegetable patches, allotments, planters, fruit trees and currant bushes.

The public realm has been designed to be inviting to cyclists and pedestrians and to encourage community enjoyment of external space. Circulation space is designed along Home Zone principles creating an inclusive environment which links, rather than separates, different elements of the scheme. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorists share a single tree-lined entrance road leading from Northern Road.

The project is being delivered as part of a wider strategy to introduce One Planet Living principles developed by WWF and BioRegional to Swindon and is accompanied by a raft of broader community initiatives including a neighbourhood car club, subsidized bus passes and bicycles and the provision of real-time public transport information services in every home.

Hab Oakus is a joint venture between Kevin McCloud’s development company, Hab, and the housing group GreenSquare. The Triangle is being delivered with funding from the Homes and Communities Agency and is due to start on site by the end of the year with completion by December 2010.

The Triangle – Building Information

Client: Hab Oakus
Architects/Lead Consultants: Glenn Howells Architects
Landscape Consultant: Studio Engleback
Environmental Engineer: Max Fordham
Cost Consultant: DBK
Engineer: Curtins Consulting

The Triangle image / information from Glenn Howells Architects

The Triangle Swindon design : Glenn Howells Architects

Location: Swindon, England, UK

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Rotunda Conversion, Birmingham
Rotunda Birmingham
photo : Nic Gaunt
Rotunda Birmingham

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