Saunders Boston Architects (SBA) were commissioned by Essex Housing, the development arm of Essex County Council, to carry out a feasibility for new office space and residential units on the Freight site next to Rochford Railway Station as part of a large masterplan to regenerate Rochford town.
The scheme provides sixty four units of one, two and three bedroom apartments above 1385sqm of commercial space on the ground floor. The aim was to create a gateway development that showcases innovative architecture and urban design that seeks to create a new community punctured with pockets of green spaces.
The proposal responds to the varying edges of the site context with parkland and trees to the east, railway line to the south, the station and car park to the west and main road with the town centre beyond to the northern boundary.
The key to unlocking the site was to create a connection between a place of arrival from the station to the park that provides a pedestrian route to the town centre. Therefore the form of the development is split into two blocks providing a route through forming two ‘U’ shaped green squares with podium gardens at first floor level.
A series of terraces articulate the building ranging from interlocking gardens to the corners and ends of the blocks providing a place for large shrubs and small trees to grow creating a vertical park connecting to the surroundings, to full width private terraces that overlook the parkland.