Sylvanus House, Wellingborough

Sylvanus House

The borough of Wellingborough is a typical East Midlands mixture of urban and rural.  With a population of 75,500 spread over 16 wards, 60% of the population live in the town of Wellingborough. The remainder are spread between small market towns, villages and remote farming communities.

Although Wellingborough is surrounded by beautiful countryside within Northamptonshire; the contrast between is evident as the district wards are amongst the wealthiest and most deprived areas in the whole of the country.

According to The Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD), Queensway is allocated in the 10% most deprived areas in the UK.

Wellingborough Homes, a not-for-profit housing association identified one of their estates in Queensway for being most in need of improvement. The two three story flats called Diana and Sylvanus house had been regarded by the local community as the least desirable place to live in Queensway.

beforeThe 1960’s flats had ‘not stood the test of time’ and they appeared dated and in desperate need of repair. The buildings were flawed thermally with large areas of cold bridging causing internal mould issues. Rather than simply demolish the blocks completely, Wellingborough homes started a major 5 million regeneration scheme to dramatically transform both buildings and surrounding landscaping to solve the apparent social and architectural problems.

Architects ‘Sursham Tompkins’ designed a new, radical design for the two structures. The concept for the build was to retain the core of the buildings whilst altering the appearance beyond recognition to break the long associated stigma.

Main contractor, Steel and Bray Ltd began the refurbishment by stripping the blocks back to the basic structure. Retaining the existing concrete frame, the external leaf of the cavity walls was removed and solid walls were constructed.

Prior to the works Byron Pountney, contract manager at Wellingborough Homes, said: “This project will see a complete regeneration of the buildings.

“The work will see us strip them right back to the skeleton and effectively start again to create a mix of modern, energy efficient, affordable homes which cater for local need.

“In every way this is a major transformation of this site which we hope will breathe new life into the area.”

Specified by the architect to tackle the thermal inefficiency of the building, Wetherby’s Epsiwall insulated render system was chosen as the most suitable option. The system consisted foremost of 70mm phenolic insulation, however in places where the design features were paramount; 20mm phenolic had to be applied. As an accompaniment to main system, Wetherby’s 50mm EPS was applied below DPC to prevent a cold bridge at the base of the system.

Wetherby recognised contractors; Concordia Construction made great progress on installing the Epsiwall system. The application of 1.5mm Silicone ‘K’ render applied in three different colours (NCS S 1000N/NCS S 3502R/NCS S 6000N) gave a dramatic effect.

Trespa cladding was then fixed over the render to give depth, visual interest and a more modern appearance. New feature stair towers and walkways were introduced to give the courtyard a sense of impact and appeal whilst greatly enhancing the security of the building.

Results from the u-values showed a reduction from 0.42 W/m2K to 0.29 W/m2K, tenants can now live in warm, dry homes.

A thriving and sustainable community has now been created for the tenants of the Queensway estate. The first phase on Sylvanus house has created 36 new, energy efficient homes.

Trevor Genus (48), an unemployed fabricator/welder, was one of the first residents to move into the new-style Sylvanus House, early this month. He is delighted with his   new one-bedroomed, second floor flat: “Yes, my new place at Sylvanus ticks all the boxes for me,” said Trevor.

Sylvanus House 1