Green goals integral to plot ideas
New Edinburgh developments promote sustainable smart design and a dedication to residents’ wellbeing
UK housebuilder Artisan Real Estate has announced a new blueprint for sustainable development at the firm going forward, anticipating the changing requirements of people and communities in the wake of Covid-19.
The ambition is to match ‘smart’, energy-efficient building design with an innovative approach to placemaking and community, building on creative concepts such as green roofs, ‘edible’ gardens and green transport plans in sensitive city centre environments.
Initially focusing on new housing projects in Edinburgh, Artisan’s plan is geared to achieving low-to-zero carbon development, as well as creating more open and landscaped environments to benefit residents’ general health and well-being.
In accordance with The City of Edinburgh Council’s Future Edinburgh strategy, which aims to make the Capital carbon neutral within the next ten years, Artisan is now applying its sustainable design philosophy to two major developments in the city. As well as the north-central Canonmills Garden, which is already under way, the developer has unveiled plans for Rowanbank Gardens on recently acquired land in the popular residential area of Corstorphine, which is currently subject to a planning application.
Clive Wilding, Artisan’s group development director, says: “The challenges highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic have accelerated the importance of changing the way we deliver new home development.
“We are now going above and beyond the existing council guidelines, as outlined in Future Edinburgh. As well as reducing urban sprawl by optimising the number of people living in welldesigned, sustainable homes in low car-use locations, well-served by public and self-propelled transport, we are also envisaging what people want from their living environment, post-covid-19.”
With reference to the living spaces designed for Artisan’s developments in Edinburgh, Wilding expands: “Significant emphasis is placed on the quality of internal space and light to create enjoyable homeworking environments, while accessible gardens and landscaping promote health and wellbeing by making nature and well-designed outdoor space integral to the day-today living experience.”
Artisan’s Canonmills Garden development, scheduled for completion early next year, has pioneered the firm’s integration of low-and-zero carbon generating technology. This includes a combined heat and power system, which can also charge electric vehicles, reducing both building and transport CO2 emissions.
This strategy, combined with well-designed green roof spaces and climate-responsive building facades, has been devised to help improve and enhance environmental integration, natural light provision and the quality of indoor and outdoor air at the site.
Similar development principles have been employed in the plans for the 126 new homes at Rowanbank Gardens. The former care home site could meet the city council’s requirement for well-designed, high-density living accommodation, coupled with spacious communal areas, which makes the most of wellestablished public transport links to encourage low car ownership.
The development is designed around a central courtyard garden, which would provide almost twice the level of open space recommended by the council’s planning policy. This communal area would be lined with fruit trees and contain planting and growing beds for residents.
The proposed apartments have been planned for open-plan living, with large windows giving views of the courtyard and beyond, while green roofs are intended to benefit from surface water retention, assisting insulation for the apartments and the ecology of the area.
Artisan is perhaps best known in Scotland for large-scale city regeneration projects, such as the award-winning New Waverley development in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic Old Town.
The developer says that it is applying the lessons learned from the design and execution of such projects to its residential work.
“At the heart of all Artisan’s developments is building a strong sense of place,” adds Wilding. “We are specialising in niche urban developments in the most exciting parts of the city centre, creating a high-value premium product for a wide range of homebuyers.