Grover Close Hemel Hempstead 2005–2008
The scheme for 56 flats employs an underground car park to achieve the high density of 144 dwellings per hectare. Four villas are arranged in a chequerboard pattern with a sense of place derived from the land itself, from both the topography and the trees.

‘It is far better than its peers, and continues the proud tradition of superior social housing that Dickon Robinson led so fruitfully at the Peabody Trust housing association.’ Crispin Kelly 2009

Image 1

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    Housing in the English suburbs is rarely successful. Here Grover Close is seen in its context
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    Isometric of the four villas
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    Ground plan: inside each 18m x 18m villa there are four flats per floor, mixing 1-bed, 2-bed 3-person and 2-bed 4-person dwellings
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    Section shows the underground car park that allowed us to repair the hillside
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    The blocks vary in height, two are 3-storey, the other two, 4-storey. Each stands on a different contour, their varied height, position and roof-form creating a continually changing roofline
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    Each villa is clad on two elevations in brickwork, the other two in vertical timber boards
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    A glimpse of Grover Close through the existing tree belt on the north boundary of the site
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    The compact plan and section of each pavilion minimises surface area and therefore heat loss
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    Roof forms are predicated on the roof space being inhabited behind steep mansards linked in section by a butterfly roof, visible in the other two gable elevations
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    The timber windows follow a chequerboard pattern similar to that used to plan the scheme


  • Appointment: 2005
  • Construction start: 2007
  • Completion: 2008
  • Area: 4200m2
  • Budget: £6.57m
  • Sustainable credentials: 28.80kgCO2/m²
  • Form of contract: Novated to contractor
  • Client: Hightown Praetorian & Churches Housing Association
  • Contractor: NEC
  • Services Engineer: Van Zyl & de Villiers
  • Structural Engineer: Aventus Design
  • Quantity Surveyor: GDG Management
  • Landscape Architect: Charnwood Landscape Design
  • Project Manager: CDG Management
  • Sound Consultant: Cole Jarman


  • Crispin Kelly, ‘Is This What Tenants Want?’, in: Architects Journal (2 July 2009), pp.22–33


  • Building Life Awards, Silver Standard, 2009
  • Affordable Home Ownership Awards, Best Designed Scheme, 2009
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