James Chapman

P1 – The Observatory:

The brief for P1 was to design an observatory that sat atop Higger Tor in the peak district. As well as the observation facility itself, the design had to include; overnight accommodation for two people, a small multipurpose clubroom for up to twenty people, a tea point and separate wc, a small office for administration, secure equipment stores and an off-the-grid solution to energy. A key part of the brief was to design a building that was temporary, and a strong emphasis was placed on the ‘build-ability’ of the design.

We were given the entirety of the Tor to design for, and I ended up choosing a site that was on the northern edge of the Tor, which was at the top of a footpath of relatively gentle incline, that was also somewhat sheltered from the harsh winds of the peaks.

I wanted my observatory to be a fully inclusive building, that not only appealed to veteran star-gazers, but also acted as a place to teach amateur astronomers about the stars, and a building who’s form contrasted the natural contours of the peak district in which it was situated.


P2 – The Library:

The brief for P2 was to reinterpret the library as a building fit for the 21st century. The building had to include at least one ‘urban façade’ that addressed the street and also had to include a café area that could act as a threshold between the very public street and the more secluded library. Apart from this café area, the only other essential features of the library are the library space itself, the stacks and general storage, and how we used the rest of the space was entirely up to us.

My site was located in the Sheffield district of Attercliffe, on a corner between the main Attercliffe Road and the more private Beverley Street. My research during the neighbourhood study informed me that the qualification rate in the immediate area was very low, and 1 in 3 people had no qualifications at all. This led me design my library with a strong focus on teaching space, and somewhere that people could utilise modern technology to further their education.


P3 – Housing:

The brief for P3 was to design a housing project to accommodate two types of domestic groups, one of which is families. All dwellings are required to be accessible from ground level (which might mean that lifts are required), and most dwellings should have the key facilities accessible from entry level. The development also had to provide some sort of ‘community interface’ facility as appropriate to the site and the project.

Out of a possible six designated sites in the Heeley area of Sheffield, I was assigned site E1, which was a large, irregularly sized plot that was situated just south of Gleadless Road, with the east and west sides of the site were open to Kent Road and Carrfield Street respectively. Three two-storey houses were situated directly to the south of the site, whilst the backs of the shops on Gleadless Road formed the northern boundary.

Whilst undertaking site analysis of the area of Heeley, I was particularly intrigued by the abundance of almost unusable green space. I discovered that one of the only useful plots of green space was the enormous Heeley & Meersbrook allotments that were located less than ten minutes away from my site. I therefore thought that a good community interface to my design that would serve a purpose for the community would be a small scale allotment space that could serve a community run café. The focus of the design for the dwellings was to create spaces that were flexible and adaptable, with an emphasis on clever storage.