01 December 2014

Eco House - Nessecliffe

We are delighted to announce that NC Home have just obtained Full Planning Consent from Shropshire County Council for their Earth Sheltered Eco home in Nessecliffe, subject to a S106 for affordable contributions.  The Consent highlights the tremendous thought given over the design of this unique home for private clients.  Set within a fully rural setting and adjacent to an Ancient Monument, the scheme was so strongly supported by English Heritage and the Council Officers, the consent was delegated!

This decision has emboldened the Practice to try and expand their projects within this incredibly unique form of architecture.  Following on from the previous consent obtained for an underground dwelling within a Conservation Area in Bowdon, Cheshire (Perdu) the Practice hopes that this success will attract further clients who feel they have “no chance”, but with NC Homes' help and expertise, the “dream can become a reality”!
Special mention must go to James Bell, Project Architect, for leading the Team to such success.

14 October 2014

Debi's Postcard From Italy

I have been lucky enough to have just spent a week in Italy, visiting the Amalfi Coast and all the sights it has to offer.  Here is a snapshot of two places that really stood out to me architecturally.
Amalfi Cathedral - Duomo di Sant'Andrea
The Cloister of Paradise is one of the highlights of the Amalfi Cathedral.  Built between 1266-68 to house the tombs of Amalfi's wealthy merchants, it features slender double columns and Moorish-style arcades made of pure white marble.  In the centre is a Mediterranean garden.

Cloister of Paradise

The Crypt of St Andrew is decorated with beautiful Baroque murals from 1660.

Baroque Murals

Located in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, Herculaneum was an ancient Roman town destroyed by the volcanic eruption of 79 AD, which can now be seen in almost its original splendour.  Unlike Pompeii, it was mainly affected by pyroclastic flows, thus preserving the wooden objects such as roof tops, building beams, beds, doors and even food.  Moreover, Herculaneum was a wealthier town than Pompeii, possessing an extraordinary density of fine houses and far more lavish use of coloured marble cladding.

Roman Columns

 Among the ruins is a Collegial Shrine with elaborate wall paintings identified as that maintained by the local Augustales (an order of Roman priests).  This building is remarkably well preserved and you can even see the carbonised wooden beams and the detail of how the building was constructed.
Wall Paintings

Carbonised Wood & Construction

13 October 2014

Vita Crosshall, Liverpool - Steel Frame System

Here's a further update on the Vita project at Liverpool.

The photo below shows the right hand side of the Crosshall Building when viewed from Preston Street.  You will notice that the five storey party wall to the right hand side remains in position.  The crane is positioned in what will be the internal lightwell through the height of building, from the basement up to roof level.

The following photo shows the Steel Frame System (SFS) infill floor, the SFS walls in the foreground lying flat pre installation.  Once these are installed, the next floor level will then be installed on top of this.  The off-site manufactured en-suite pods will be dropped into each unit before the next floor goes on top.

The last photo shows the left hand side of the Crosshall Building when viewed from Preston Street.  The wall to the right hand side is the Chapel Building (see previous Blog posts).  The two specialist SFS workmen are erecting and guiding the SFS into position with the crane driver overhead.

27 August 2014

World Vision - Update

We are delighted to announce, that we have become the proud sponsors of a 4 year old girl - Kashish Kumari and a 10 year old boy - Musaraf Md, via the World Vision child sponsorship, which we recently subscribed to.

Both our children come from the same sponsorship project in Patna, which is one of the poorest and most neglected states of India.  In the initial phase of this Area Development Programme, World Vision will be focusing on early childhood development.  With the co-operation of communities and the local authorities, it aims to satisfy the nutritional, health and educational needs of young children living in the slums.  The plan is to help the communities to set their own goals and work towards them, with the long-term view of doing this without World Vision, who expect to remain in this community until 2021.

We are sending our first letters to Kashish and Musaraf this week, to introduce ourselves to them and to find out more about their lives.  We are looking forward to seeing how they grow and develop over the years, with the help that our sponsorship and the support of World Vision will give them.

You can find out more about the wonderful work that World Vision does around the world via their website: www.worldvision.org.uk

Meanwhile, please take a look at our newly updated website at: www.neilcollinshomes.com

21 July 2014

Views from Portugal

Neil recently holidayed in Portugal with his lovely wife Diane and took the following photos in Lisbon and the surrounding area.
"Will it fit?  Just!"

"Columns - with a twist"

"Now that's what I call a Bris Soleil!"

 "Not a good match!"

04 June 2014

A Room with a View

When we are not all working hard here at NC Homes HQ, we occasionally take time off to unwind and relax.  As we all have an avid interest in architecture outside of our work life, we thought it would be nice to share photos on our Blog, of buildings and places of architectural interest that inspire us, or that we simply "like the look of". 
As I have just recently been away (camping in the Dumfries & Galloway area at the Spring Bank Holiday), I thought I would get the ball rolling with a house that caught my eye.  Below are three photos I took of The White House at Mute Hill, which is 2 miles South of the Artists' town of Kirkcudbright, South West Scotland.  I was initially taken by the design of the house, which is quite unusual, but when I took in the full extent of its location it took my breath away!  The house sits on an estuary, affording it the most amazing views from its circular living room with floor to ceiling windows.  What I wouldn't give for a peak inside this house!

Debi Evans
Office Manager

Vital Crosshall, Liverpool... and now the hard work really starts!

The following photo shows how the internal demolition process has now finished removing all the floors from the Crosshall Building, leaving this impressive "shell".
Crosshall (left hand) when viewed from Crosshall Street looking back toward Preston Street
 Work can now commence at pace on converting this “shell” into a 158 unit VITA student accommodation!

02 June 2014

World Vision

World Vision is a Christian charity and one of the world’s leading relief and development agencies, currently working with 100 million people in nearly 100 countries in their struggle against poverty, hunger and injustice, irrespective of their religious beliefs.  Child sponsorship can provide safe drinking water, healthcare and education to these children.
Through World Vision, NC Homes now sponsors two children who are desperately in need.  Follow their progress via our Blog, where we will be posting regular updates.


14 May 2014

VITA HQ Takes Shape

As part of an on-going re-development of this well-known former farmstead, café, shop and Agricultural holding, comprised within this group of four buildings involved a combination of new build and refurbishment, as well as the change of use from agricultural to commercial / office / retail as the new premises for one of NC Homes’ largest clients ‘Huntsmere Projects’, together with their new relationship with ‘Select Properties’.  Owing to the success of the client’s joint venture within the growing operations of the extremely popular Student Housing Sector across the UK, which has been branded ‘VITA’, this project responds to the rapid growth of the business by providing approximately 15,000 sqft of commercial buildings and ancillary parking, on a gateway site leading to Alderley Edge Town Centre.  NC Homes were not only delighted to have lead the design development of VITA’s first student site, which included the refurbishment of three separate buildings in Liverpool City Centre, part Grade II Listed and set within a Conservation Area and World Heritage Site known as The Chapel, Crosshall and Tinlings, we are also delighted to have been retained as the architects for VITA’s own Headquarters.  

When completed, there will be additional office space created through extensions as well as another new building to accommodate a restaurant and hospitality venue.  As a mix of Brownfield and Green Belt land, this site presented a number of major challenges in order for NC Homes to successfully gain planning consent for VITA.  The design incorporates a composition of the traditional agricultural heritage mixed with contemporary features.  The material appearance includes a combination of standing seam, oak cladding and Cheshire brick which are redolent to materials associated with the site’s history and in turn intrinsically linking it to this semi-rural local context.  Internally the open plan office space offers flexibility for future use and growth.  The architecture will be complimented by a comprehensive landscaping scheme to consolidate the development.  Completion is due 2015.

17 April 2014

Vita Crosshall, Liverpool - Next Phase

Three photos showing the internal demolition progress. The existing floor levels are systematically being removed and are now down to the second floor level.
The Crosshall Building was constructed in two distinct phases in 1878 and 1880 respectively, although the front Crosshall Street façade is homogenous, the rear of the building has a higher and a lower façade.


PHASE 1 - 1878:  Crosshall (left hand) when viewed from Crosshall Street looking back toward Preston Street, is a masonry arched framed building and a timber floor load bearing masonry.


PHASE 2 - 1880:  Crosshall (right hand) when viewed from Crosshall Street looking back toward Preston Street.   The right hand side is a cast iron framed structure with masonry arches.  There was also a glazed brick lightwell (see where all the timber is being dumped).

The rear Preston Street elevation - higher and lower façade.

14 January 2014

Passivhaus for Shropshire!

On the basis of our successful granting of planning consent to build an underground house in the Bowdon Conservation Area in Cheshire, called Perdu, NC Homes Architects have been commissioned to design a new earth sheltered passivhaus in the open countryside of Shropshire.  Situated against two English Heritage Scheduled Ancient Monuments, an Iron Age hill fort and a protected series of caves, the proposals sensitively and respectfully respond to its context and adopt an organic form that follows the hillside topography and merges effortlessly into its agricultural landscape setting.  The concept design derives from the ancient ‘rampart’ form of the hill fort, that intuitively combines grass roof and clerestory windows, concealing the dwelling from visual receptors from outside whilst flooding the space with light and ventilation inside.  The dwelling will need to comply with producing zero carbon emissions, introducing leading technologies and materials into the fabric and construction methodology of the design, to ensure that it has no negative impact on the environment. 

Follow our website to see the progress on this and all our other exciting projects in the year to come!