HLP have worked on the refurbishment of a high rise blocks in Chester called Blacon, The Saints and The Heights. Each had its own contextual settings: Blacon – a housing estate on the edge of the countryside, The Saints, a landmark gateway and The Heights, close to the historic centre of Chester. Although the blocks had a different setting the strategy was to use the same palette of materials and respond to the different contexts with variations in colour. Each block also had an apron which needed to be redesigned to improve accessibility and the landscape setting. The interior design of the entrance areas and communal spaces was addressed with quality materials which created a sense of arrival and improved security. In Blacon a simple white render upper floors with a brick base created a simple, clean appearance from distance above the tree canopy for the 3 blocks.
At The Saints this landmark site on the approach to Chester City Centre the blocks were simple monolithic blocks by introducing a grey accent colour to alternate ends the appearance of the blocks change when viewed from different angles and increasing the verticality of the blocks. At The Heights the existing interlocking blocks were given an accent colour which matched the local red-brown sandstone of Chester’s historic centre. By orientating the accent colours on the approach to the site and also facing the city centre across the Canal this breaks down the mass of the block against the skyline.
One each of the sites the existing balconies were stupped back and re-glazed to create variety and animation on the façade. The EWI overcladding and refurbishment has reduced heating requirements and transformed the appearance of the blocks.
The strategic approach to the 9 blocks created a specification and template which was understood and could be accurately costs but allowed enough flexibility to respond to the local context. These high rise blocks are now landmark buildings to be proud of.