The scheme, which will provide two terrace houses and three flats, features the ‘ghost’ print of the end-of-terrace gable from a long-demolished tenement block that once sat on the vacant plot.
Due to be built in two stages, the project was drawn up by Baxendale founder Lee Ivett with Stefanescu, a fellow teacher at UCLan’s Grenfell-Baines Institute of Architecture.
The design team hopes to use ‘natural and reclaimed materials as much as possible’, with the primary structure built from CLT.
The project, which aims to ‘redensify the site and recapture its historical charm’, will also have wood-fibre insulation and external finishes of lime render and reclaimed brick.
A future timescale is not yet known.
Architect’s view – Lee Ivett, founder, Baxendale
Through my teaching role at the Grenfell-Baines Institute of Architecture, UCLan in Preston, I was introduced to the client and site owner Derek Ashwood. At the time, he had been working on a research project with a former colleague.
Now living in Lytham in the north-west of England, Derek was originally from Beith and had acquired this site over a number of years. He’s not a developer and considers himself more of a fortunate custodian of the site, with a responsibility to do something useful and purposeful with it for the good of the town.
Meeting Derek was in many ways an extraordinary coincidence or act of fate. For many, many years I had worked in Beith with Beith Community Development Trust, developing community engagement and development strategies with this group and also assisting them in the acquisition and development of significant assets.
The site for this project came up in conversation many times without anyone being able to identify the owner and with myself and the Trust installing temporary artworks on the site and remaining buildings. When I started tutoring at the Mackintosh School of Architecture, I also used this site as a project location for my second-year architecture students. All this time I had no idea who the owner was or that I would one day get the opportunity to design a real scheme for it.
Achieving planning consent for the site is a considerable achievement. The plot has now been derelict and vacant in different forms for more than 20 years. It was formerly a series of different shops at ground floor level with tenements above.
The site had a significant and prominent position on one of four corners at an important crossroads. Three of those four corners are now derelict so this project provides a welcome opportunity to reinstate a lost piece of the urban fabric.
The design creates a new urban corner condition with amenity at the street level, two new terraced houses and then three additional apartments. There will also be a community garden on the roof with amazing views towards the Ayrshire coast and beyond.
Source:Baxendale with Ecaterina Stefanescu
The design pays respect to the history of the site in terms of its massing, language and use. It reimagines the ad-hoc nature of the existing architectural massing and visual composition of Main Street, Mitchell Street and Wilson Street, while also drawing inspiration from the colour, vibrancy and playful forms that can be found in the centre of Beith next to the Auld Kirk and on the historically significant Beith Townhouse.
The design process involved an intensive iterative process of sketch model-making and perspective studies in order to test ideas and evolve the massing and elevational composition. Derek was involved at every stage of the design decision-making process and also facilitated consultation and engagement with the local authority.
Now we’ve obtained planning permission, we will be engaging further with the local community and local stakeholders in order to develop and implement a strategy for the completion of the project.
The intention is to build the project in two phases: the first being the completion of the two terraced houses and then the corner block consisting of street-level amenity and apartments above. The ambition for the construction is to use natural and reclaimed materials as much as possible, with a CLT primary structure, wood fibre insulation and external finishes of lime render and reclaimed brick.
Location Beith, North Ayrshire
Local authority North Ayrshire Council
Type of project Mixed-use/residential
Client Derek Ashwood
Architect Baxendale with Ecaterina Stefanescu