Proctor and Matthews architects has completed the first phase of the PegasusLife development in the market town of Tetbury, Gloucestershire. Available exclusively to over- 60s, ‘Steepleton’ lies within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is the practice’s third collaboration with the client.
The intention for the site was to deliver a contemporary design, offering owners the quintessential village experience alongside modern facilities. Uniquely tailored to the modern and active retiree, their personal wellbeing is central to the design and encourages opportunities for owners to feel part of a community.
Informed by local historic Cotswold farmsteads and almshouses, the development contains 113 homes over a site of two hectares. This first phase sees six of nine buildings completed, clustered at a comfortable domestic scale around a series of open interlocking courtyards. This courtyard model seeks to provide residents with a sense of identity and security, and encourage the establishment of community groupings within the wider framework of the development.
Andrew Matthews, Founding Director of Proctor & Matthews comments:
“Neighbourly interaction was a key design objective at Steepleton: not only to provide owners with the comfort and reassurance of being part of a secure and supportive community, but also to avoid loneliness – a particularly acute problem among older people that can have a major effect upon physical and mental wellbeing. The homes at Steepleton are clustered around open courtyards and surrounded by gardens and allotments providing opportunity for interaction between owners as well as nurturing a sense of security. The pursuit of neighbourliness is perhaps best exemplified by the ‘Village Hall’ containing a restaurant and lounge at the heart of the development, the spa and treatments rooms and the street front café. Crucially these facilities can be used by the wider community, thereby knitting the development and its residents closely into the social infrastructure of Tetbury.”
A taller barn-like structure at the heart of the site – the ‘village hall’ – frames a central court and external swimming pond, promoting the health benefits of cold-water swimming. The building contains communal facilities including a restaurant, residents’ lounge, and a library with an open fire. Other facilities include a spa and fitness studio, care and therapy provision, IT facilities and a street front cafe. Crucially these are open to the public to use alongside the home owners and their families, encouraging interaction and engagement across generations, and reducing individuals’ sense of isolation. Outside, there are landscaped gardens maintained by the onsite gardeners and private gardens and raised planters that can be maintained by owners. Other communal facilities include a visitor suite for overnight stays visiting family and friends.
The self-contained one, two and three bed apartments are arranged within two-storey clusters comprising living space, private kitchens and bathrooms. Each lies alongside generous private outdoor space and external storage. Sliding walls within each apartment offer greater spatial flexibility to adapt as owners’ needs may change. The maisonettes make full use of the roof void to enhance daylight into each dwelling and boost the sense of space within units by the incorporation of a double height space.
Pauline Carlon, Regional Sales Manager at PegasusLife, said:
“We’re really excited that Steepleton is open and our first residents have now moved in. It is a beautiful development and an idyllic sanctuary for anyone looking to experience Cotswold living with community at its heart. Living socially is key to improving wellbeing and giving our owners a sense of belonging and we are proud to have designed a site which helps to encourage sociability amongst its residents as well as within the local community.”
A key element is the ‘ambulatory’ – a cloistered walkway at ground and first floor levels around each courtyard. This is conceived not merely as a way of circulating through each cluster but provides space with seating areas for owners to meet, relax and interact.
Architecturally this stacked arcade breaks up the courtyard elevations and delivers an animated street frontage to the public realm. The contemporary interpretation of historic farmstead or almshouse forms is enhanced with careful detailing that sustains references to local vernacular buildings. Dormers, projecting bays and balcony hoods create a coherent yet varied architectural language to the streetscape of courtyard typologies. Chimneys for wood burning stoves and pronounced ‘twin gable’ façade composition echo the forms of the Cotswold vernacular and Arts and Crafts tradition. Cotswold stone is used for ground level facades with a lime wash coloured render above and stone boundary walls visually unite the courtyards and help to nurture a sense of protection and enclosure.
To find out more about Steepleton and other projects by Proctor & Matthews, please visit www.proctorandmatthews.com