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«CSAAR (7: 2010: Amman) Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development \ Edited by Steffen Lehmann, Husam Al Waer, Jamal AI-Qawasmi. Amman: The Center ...»

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The medians of street, wall and field respond to the rural context by interweaving the relationships between farming and contemporary living (Figure 13). The design is derived from principles established in Borneo Sporenburg, Amsterdam and otTers avision of urban living tuned to an aspiration by many to live in the countryside (Cousins, 2008). Reminiscent of the existing Victorian extension to the village, the street forms a spine along which sits a matt of densely buHt infrastructure driven unremittingly across the site. The houses form a solid wall along the street and tjeld boundaries. These walls are punctured by tightly controlIed and defined external courtyards and patios around which the main social spaces of the houses are arranged. Tbe social spaces of each house have a fluid relationship with the main external spaces: street, field or patio.

Houses and patios vary in scale depending on family sizes, giving richness and variety to the stree!. The Iimited palette of materials, in particular the brown brick which is associated with the red ochre colour of the fields, brings uniformity and order to the built infrastructure which is pierced at varying intervals by community parks and orchards. These civic spaces also collect perpendicular pedestrian routes that link into key nodes within the village and core path networks. The lateral path network defines a strict grid for the small­ scale subsistence farming plots. A farmers market to the south of the site provides an outlet for local produce whilst stimulating cultural exchange between the existing village and the new development (Figure 14).

–  –  –

3.4 Croft Figure 15. Scenario 4: Croft. Master plan, aerial view.

Croft is a self-sustaining low intensity farming community with mixed land­ uses containing small scale subsistence farming plots, densely developed steading-type housing clusters, community green spaces, allotments and orchards (Figure 15). It addresses government agendas for re-establishing crofting: an indigenous system of small-scale subsistence farming, once widespread throughout Scotland but now in decline (Bums, 2007). Crofting has many benefits as it keeps communities alive, enables people to live and work in isolated areas, and helps keep rural schools and other vital public services operating. Crofters traditionally use low intensity management techniques and sustainable farming practices which helps to encourage wildlife and create unique landscapes and habitats. It also sustains a rich cultural heritage reflected in its legacy of language, music, song, dance, poetry, storytelling and literature.

In order to survive in the 21st century as a sustainable and productive use of land and as a Iiving culture, crofting needs to be reinvented to encourage young people to take it up as a way of life. The Croft masterplan is based on an irregular grid of one-acre farming plots which could provide a sufficient quantity of food to sustain a family for a year with surplus income capacity to sustain other needs appropriate to more contemporary lifestyles. The plots are woven within a framework of roads, trackways and footpaths. Social and physical networks between crofts, steadings and the existing village create a self­ sustaining market for swapping and selling produce. Each croft consists of arable land, storage sheds and a house. Steading clusters of nine dwellings, adjacent to the crofts, provide affordable horne ownership. The internal courtyard serving the steading houses contains shared gardens, patios and allotment spaces. The internal layout design of a typical two bedroom steading house groups the vertical circulation and wet services within a core. This arrangement permits free-plan flexibility for the rest of the house to allow the end user to inhabit the Neil Burford, Joseph Thurrott & Alex Pearson space as they wish. Tbe energy strategy for the houses uses simple passive means, thennally active construction systems and high levels of insulation.

Space heating, domestic hot water and electricity generation are addressed at district level (Figure 16).

Figure 16. Scenario 4: eroft.

Site plan and perspectives.

4 Conclusions The development of more sustainable, economical and qualitative approaches to rural living will need the fonnation of more diverse communities. Alternative forms of housing of all tenures with mixed land uses and economies are needed to realise the full potential of a community. A deeper understanding at regional and individual levels of the underlying cultural, environmental and economic requirements of communities may generate more appropriate development frameworks and architectural responses to low-carbon rural living. Anchoring, Sustainable Architecture and Urban DeveJopment 167 Court, Street and Croft contain four sustainable strategies for development within a Scottish rural context. Anchoring and Court centralise development adjacent 10 the vil1age core, extending the village boundary, whilst stitching into the existing fabric. Both proposals leave the remainder of the site for agricultural uses and develop typologies based on more accepted urban frameworks. Street and Croft disperse development across a wider area of the site, developing a typology of land use within a broader framework of sustainable development that has farming as a key generator of form. Whilst the proposals take very different approaches, a number of common architectural issues have emerged from the study. Density and intensive use of land are needed to create clearly defined hierarchies and high quality external spaces. In all schemes, c1ustering of the built fabric allows very precisely controlled public spaces with clear boundaries and thresholds to be produced whHst achieving higher densities than suburban models. The perception of enclosure (and therefore density) is generated by the boundaries (walls, hedgerows and forest). A more intensive use of land pockets

relieves press ure on remaining land which can be released for alternative uses:

green-space, wildlife corridors, swales, waterways, farming and allotments. An ordered landscape framework, based not on the primacy of the car, but on alternative land uses can achieve a scale of association with the existing rural landscape with buHt densities more in-keeping with the existing viIlage. An abstracted order does not replicate the organic formation of the village but seeks mies based on underlying factors more in keeping with contemporary requirements whether these are urban or rural. ldentity and character can be achieved by the sensitive manipulation ofthe built fabric and landscape.


Anon. (2006). Building A Greener Future: Towards Zero Carbon Development.

London, England: Department for Communities and Local Govemment.

Anon. (2007). Firm Foundations: The Future of Housing in Scotland. Edinburgh, Scotland: Scottish Govemment.

Anon. (2009). Building Sustainable Communities. Submission to the Scottish Govemment Budget Process, Edinburgh, Scotland: Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland.

Anon. (1994). PAN 44: Fitting New Housing Development into the Landscape.

Edinburgh, Scotland: Scottish Office.

Barker, P. (1999). Journal ofDesign History Vol. 12, No. 2. Oxford, England:

Oxford Journals, Oxford University Press.

Bain, M. (Ed) (2008). Architecture in Scotland 2006- 2008, Building Biographies. Glasgow, Scotland: The Lighthouse.

Christopher, A. (1977). A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction.

New York, USA: Oxford University Press.

Neil Burford, Joseph Thurrott & Alex Pearson Cowan, R. (2004). Designing Plaees: A Poliey Statement for Seotland (2001). Edinburgh, Scotland: Seottish Government.

Cousins, M. (2009). Design Quality in New Housing. Abingdon, England:

Taylor & Francis.

Francis & Wheeler (2006). One Planet Living in the Suburbs. Surrey, England:


Hastings & Wall (2007). Sustainable Solar Housing, Volume I. London, England: Earthscan.

Jury (2010). Heavyweight Sustainable Housing conference, 8th December 2009, BRE, Watford, England.

Krier, L. (1984). Houses, Palaces, Cities. Architectural Design Vol. 54, No. 7/8, London, England: St. Martin's Press.

Krier, L. (1993). Architecture & Urban Design 1967-1992. Chicester, England:

John Wiley & Sons.

Krier, L. (1998). Architecture: Choice or Fate. London, England: Andreas Papadakis Publisher.

Levitt, D. (20 I 0). The housing design handbook: a guide to good practice.

Abingdon, England: Routledge.

Maudlin, D. (2009). The Legend ofBrigadoon: Architecture, Identity and Choice in the Scottish Highlands. Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review, Volume XX, Number 11, Berkeley, USA: University of California.

Moya, E. (2009). Housing market expected to take off ~ thanks to the return of seeuritisation. Guardian Business Section, London, England.

Naismith, R. 1. (1985). Buildings ofthe Scottish countryside. Countryside Commission for Scotland, England: Gollancz.

Neil, A. (2010). Building Inclusive Rural Communities. Rural Housing Service Annual Conference, Dunkeld, Scotland.

Power, A. (20 I 0). Building Inclusive Rural Communities. Rural Housing Service Annual Conference, Dunkeld, Scotland.

Richards, J & M. (1994). Timber frame houses in the Scottish Countryside.

Edinburgh, Scotland: HMSO.

Shucksmith, M. (2008). Committee OfInquiry On Crofting, Final Report.

Committee of Inquiry on Crofting, Edinburgh, Scotland: Scottish Government.

Worthington, J. (2004). Housing Futures 2024: A Provocative Look at Future Trends in Housing. Building Futures, London, England: CABE / RIBA.

Vernacular architecture has lessons for all of uso The seminal book Architecture without Architects by Bernard Rudofsky (1964) describes the place of what he termed non-pedigreed architecture. Perhaps the most durable and versatile examples of this vernacular architecture are the troglodytic towns such as those in Cappadocia in Turkey and Pantalica in Sicily. Other examples are at the oasis of Siwa in Egypt where burial grounds have been converted into living quarters, or those of an underground village near Loyang in Northern China, where every room has a vaulted ceiJing carved into the soil.

The strength of vernacular architecture is that it blends buildings into various settings, so that there is a natural harmony between climate, architecture and people. In countries such as Iran, Iraq and Egypt, buildings have evolved which not only demonstrate this harmony and unity between people and their environment but also offer a combination of engineering and architecture with an aesthetic quality.

We learn from the environmental pressures Nature imposes on uso For example in desert regions, mud constructions can maintain fairly steady internal temperatures in spite of very high extern al air temperatures and solar radiation.

Cross-ventilation is important in humid climates, but in the hot, dry regions of the world, shade and protection from solar glare and high temperatures are vital.

Measurements have shown how the high thermal capacity of thick adobe walls and mud roofs give pIe asant conditions of 24°C to 30°C with midday external air temperatures of 40°C and roof temperatures of 60°C. The beautiful book-­ Butabu Adobe Architecture by Morris and Blier (2004)--illustrates how earth architecture in the severe Saharan regions offers humane and sustainable solutions.

Ground source cooling is now a much debated topic in many countries and the work of Buhagiar et al in Malta is making a valuable contribution by making measurements to show the most effective arrangements.

Ahsan et al from Bangladesh assess the energy savings offered by simple passive measures such as insulation and hollow block construction. Roofs are ideal solar collectors but can become so hot and uncomfortable for inhabitants. Cheikh from Algeria measured the impact of a rock pool roof and shows a minimum drop of 6 deg C in internal air temperature; with night cooling this can be over 10 C. Heine from the US shows examples ofhow low carbon housing is being designed.

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