Heald Farm Court, St Helens

A purpose-built extra care scheme comprising 86 2-bed apartments and three 2-bed bungalows alongside landscaped gardens, a bistro, hairdresser, gym, communal area, laundry facilities and a health and wellbeing centre, as well as visitor accommodation. Facilities serve as a hub for properties in the surrounding area.

The design was developed through workshops between the local authority, the Helena Partnerships, the healthcare provider MHA and DK-Architects. Apartments allow for adaptation to accommodate residents’ future needs, and central spaces are similarly flexible.

Winner of a Housing Design Award in 2010, the scheme was described as having ‘the crafted elegance of an Oxbridge quad’. The apartment blocks are laid out to respond to the rhythm and scale of the surrounding streets and to positively reinforce the street line to the front of the site. The simple forms borrow from the context, picking up on and reinterpreting the repetition of gables. Aesthetically, the buildings benefit from a simple palette of materials, combining brick, bronzed copper cladding and glass balustrading.