Douglas Baldwin


Higger tor is a rugged hill top within the peak district. after an afternoon stroll from the pub, a boggy hike or a rock climb. you reach a large incline that leads the top of Higger tor. Uncompromising views around for miles and sculptural rock formations litter the Tor. making it an area of exceptional natural beauty. a single road leads to the back of the hill side making access easier than first anticipated. after studying the landscape and sketching ideas of objects that might not dent the landscape but enhance it and provide the brief, a few small shapes and schemes remained including three different buildings to fulfil the requirements of the brief. The first the Astronomy tower a symmetrical modernist statement that looks as-though it couldn’t be further from home. Yes something from outer space! giving the tourists, walkers and scientists imaginations that inspire. the other two buildings are much more organic in shape designed to camouflage into the landscape by either hanging of the rocks in a bouldering style, or extend from the landscape as a distant sweeping hill might.


Darnal is an area North of Sheffield, surrounded by main roads and built up of simple new brick housing it is not famous for attractions . The site was located at one end of the high street between the derelict pubs and an overused Aldi. It was a site with a lot of potential as well as a lot of difficulties. I was inspired by the communities allotments and came to the conclusion this would be the way to strengthen and expand that community. from this I designed a Horticultural Library who’s Main Façade looked out over Aldi and a main road as well as made the most of the view towards the allotments adjacent. The design was sculptural and simple using plastic membranes to create a shape that would otherwise be expensive and heavy. instead the ETFE made the design look dainty and bring in lots of natural light without having too much direct sunlight (a negative learning condition).


The site is situated within Heeley a suburb of Sheffield. Heeley is almost a town within itself which has a strong identity and community feel, therefore creating a viable addition to this area required some serial planning.

House Type B has an exterior of thin vertical larch that raps around one half of the building. the other half. a different house will be wrapped in a similar treated wood but flat panels that explain the divide between the spaces. To the left plans explain the way the spaces work when enveloped together. The design was intended to maximize the potential to the site; gathering all the sunlight, views, street and garden access within two houses. it was inspired by MVRDV’s double house scheme, that also intends to achieve the same goals. There are other plus sides by squeezing two family on the site of ones homes, it means the project becomes more economical too.

House Type A has a much simpler design that House Type B. a 2 story rectangular building designed to mirror the height of the terraces adjacent and clad in the same material as the school behind. it therefore connects the two sides of Heeley in an effortless fashion. The Cladding matches House Type B bringing the two sides of the scheme together.

The make-up of the building is structurally very simple. A timbre frame holds an exterior shell that is finished with zinc roofing. similarly, like the school behind. within the simple shell exists more internal boxes that seem to float inside. The idea of this is to make the interiors of the boxes more warm and cosy and personalise able without damaging the exteriors crisp look. As well as from the open plan living area, the shadow gaps around the interior boxes make the room seem never ending and therefore feel a larger space to exist in.

The houses are arranged in a stack with all bedrooms and bathrooms at the front of the house, a central access point in the middle that divides half the house from the living space in the back. this living space becomes very flexible in design. the idea behind this was for participation from individual clients gathering what they find most important in there living space and being able to plan the interiors to benefit that. the orientation of the site allows the client to pick the angle and shape of there living space and either maximise daylight or views into the city centre.

All houses however still make the most of the views with a roof garden and roof pod. knowing the temperamental nature of British weather a roof garden would not allow the houses to have constant access to the views they want. To solve this problem a conservatory like extension extrudes from the building that is accessed from inside the house and also from the external roof walkway connecting the houses. These pods are designed to be personal spaces for hobbies. I.e. a telescope enthusiast would use his/her pod to be the home of a mini observatory, or simply it could be a nice place to read a book in the sunshine.

The connections between the roof gardens act as a street on the roof helping the whole scheme feel like a real community. Neighbours can grow plants together in the spaces between, or share BBQs in the summer. the whole space is intended to promote neighbourly interactions and strengthen a sense of community.