When Adnams brewery relocated its distribution depot away from the centre of Southwold, it freed up a significant slice of land for redevelopment. Ash Sakula won the invited competition and was appointed architect for a two-phase project to create a shop and cafe for the brewery, followed by a development of mixed-tenure housing.
We immersed ourselves in the speciﬁc close-grained texture of this unspoilt seaside town: alleys and ginnels, little gardens packed with plants, unexpected views, interesting corners and peculiar juxtapositions. We opened up this once-impermeable industrial site and gave it back to the town; striking it through with small-scale passages, little green spaces and streets of attractive new homes.
Tibby’s Triangle has, since its completion developed into an authentic community. It is the epitome of a liveable, inter-generational neighbourhood. There is a mix of different types of homes ranging from one bedroom apartments to 4 bedroom houses. All homes have access to outdoor space, either in the form of a small garden or a large roof terrace.
There are thirty-four houses and apartments all together. Ten affordable social rented homes are pepper-potted throughout the development.
Every dwelling is different, a function partly of fitting homes into a complex triangular site, and partly through a desire to mirror the intricacy and diversity of Southwold's existing architecture. Enhancing this diversity, different floor heights, house widths and colours are applied to a terrace of notionally similar homes, suggesting an incremental and additive approach.
The scheme’s palette of materials and finishes draws on the precedents that we found in and around the town, to which we gave a contemporary edge. The buff brickwork is selectively finished with whitewash or black tar, according to maritime tradition.
Roofs are pantiled, following the local vernacular, and brick chimneys are fully functional, housing vents and flues.
Low garden walls have decorative panels of traditional flintwork. Less traditional touches include windows which project forward from the facade, and oversized dormers giving character to the houses overlooking the green.
'What can I say? I think it is one of the best places I've been in the world.' Jed Tejada-Jimenez, resident.
The organisation of the site defines a new public square around the brewery shop and cafe, while the north-east boundary relates strongly to Tibby's Green, which gives people a space in which to play, breathe and cross paths with neighbours. Between the two, a street shared by pedestrians and vehicles and a narrow pedestrian alley make new links through town.
Homes range from two to four storeys. In parts of the scheme you find houses behind houses, reached by pedestrian paths. This mirrors an aspect of Southwold's particular urban form.
At the heart of the scheme, a taller flat-iron building punctuates the development. The homes overlooking Tibby's Green share a more consistent language but have pleasing deviations and subtle individualities, that straight away makes them part of the Southwold scene.
Meets or exceeds requirements of DDA
All houses fitted with mechanical ventilation with heat recovery
All houses provided with cycle storage