Goal: To make sure that apartments respond in a contextual and sensitive way to their setting.

  p82. Apartments, also known as flats, are sustainable forms of development because they increase housing density and therefore reduce the pressure for development on greenfield land. They also provide a wider choice of dwelling size and type, meeting the needs of more residents. Designing apartments can also be a challenge to achieve a visually interesting and functional building that respects the character and appearance of the local area. Their scale, height and massing, along with the requirements for parking, bin storage and private amenity space, means that clear guidance on well-established design principles is required to ensure that the proposed buildings can be as successful as possible.

Figure 42

  Figure 40: Consider the key features and composition of an apartment building

Key features

Tile Secure and prominent main entrances
Tile Make features of gable / prominent elevations
Tile Ensure a rhythm of fenestration
Tile Separate entrances to ground floor apartments

  Figue 41: Apartments, key features


Newbuilt apartments with visual interest and overlooking open space (Accordia, Cambridge)
Apartments in a converted building (Henley)
Newbuilt apartments with good natural surveillance, Mariners Quay (Newport, Wales)
Newbuilt apartments that turn the corner (Winchester, Hampshire)

Ensure the scheme:

    1. respects their surrounding context in terms of scale and height. In some instances, taller buildings could be used as an opportunity to create landmark buildings;
    2. is broken down into a series of components to reduce their perceived bulk and massing where large footprint buildings are needed;
    3. locates main entrances directly facing onto the street and clearly visible from the public realm. All building entrances should be welcoming and easily identifiable by all users to help improve legibility;
    4. provides individual entrances for ground floor dwellings where they front the public realm and provide generous sized entrances, well-lit by natural light and naturally ventilated;
    5. has access to outdoor amenity space. This can be provided in the form of private gardens for ground floor flats, balconies, roof gardens or terraces, or private shared gardens;
    6. keeps the number of dwellings accessed from a single core to a minimum;
    7. includes accessible parking bays and visitor parking that is well overlooked and integrated into the landscaping strategy for the site. Parking must not visually dominate the setting of the buildings;
    8. has attractive dedicated visitor cycle parking provided close to main entrances and well overlooked by habitable rooms;
    9. has secure and convenient cycle storage and separate refuse areas provided within the main buildings preferably close to main entrances.

Note: All design principles are applicable to all scales of development unless otherwise specified; *minor applications, **major applications