MITCHELL STREET HOUSING
Location: Leith, Edinburgh
Client: Capital City Homes and Places for People
Programme: Completed 2008
A new-build development of 49 affordable flats on a brownfield urban corner site, varying in height between two and five storeys to respond to Georgian houses on one side and modern flats on the other. The buildings line the two street frontages to reinforce the existing street pattern. All parking is on the street, which allows the south-facing rear to be a secure courtyard which is shared between all the flats. Every flat also has private outdoor space overlooking the courtyard – either a garden or a projecting balcony. The balconies and large windows animate the elevation and promote natural surveillance.
The front elevations will most often be viewed obliquely because of the narrow street, and in response they are deeply modelled with a strong rhythm of vertical elements. The street scene is further enhanced by each ground-floor flat having its own front door and garden.
The mix of flat types is from one-bedroom to three-bedroom and includes five for wheelchair users and four for older or ambulant disabled people. Family accommodation is provided only on the ground and first floors for ease of access, resulting in a stepped section and a large balcony at second floor level. At the tallest corner of the site, balcony access allows four double-aspect flats per floor making a lift economically viable. This helps to achieve a density of 129 dwellings/hectare without compromising the quality of accommodation.