Saunders Boston Architects (SBA) worked with Enterprise Retirement Living to prepare a bid for the redevelopment of the Friends Schools, Saffron Walden into a Retirement Living Community.
SBA identified an overall development strategy to maximise the economic and social potential of the site to allow ERL to submit a robust and competitive offer. This strategy involved looking beyond the base provision of a Retirement Living Community by also focusing on the community gains generated by the development.
The strategy was based around splitting the site into 3 distinct areas. The Retirement Living element would include 120no 1, 2 & 3 bedroom apartments, 13no 3 & 4 bedroom houses, with the rest of the site converted into a Public Park with new sports pavilion.
The majority of the communal facilities are located within the ground floor of the existing school to make best use of these large historic spaces and create a centralised hub for the development, with some apartments provided on the upper floors.
Communal facilities include Residents’ Dining, Private Dining Area, Residents Lounge & Bar, Multi-Function Rooms, Residents Snug, Library, Assisted Bathing Suites/Spa Rooms, Hair Salon & Nail Bar, a refurbished Swimming Pool, Gym, and Cafe.
The majority of the apartments are provided within the new pavilions set amongst the historic tree lined avenues to the rear of the school. These pavilions are connected into the main building via pedestrian paths, Winter Gardens and Sky Gardens to encourage social interaction and movement across the site and into the adjoining park.
The new pavilions were carefully designed by SBA to pay homage to historic architectural features within Saffron Walden such as jettying of upper floors; tile hung elevations and feature/ornamented gables, while expressing themselves in a contemporary manner. The curved roofs of the pavilions mimic the curving canopy of the tree lined avenues in which they nestle. Equally the bronzed diamond shaped cladding panels echo the shape of leaves to reflect the importance of the retained trees.