Magnificent Mosspark

// the building envelope

HA Magazine reports on an important new social housing development in Glasgow, involving two of the city’s leading housing associations.

A highly acclaimed new residential development in Glasgow’s Mosspark district has created  a total of 55 apartments within four closes of a medium rise building, constructed on a confined site, yet providing every household with their own outside space as well as other amenities.

Mosspark Boulevard has been built by main contractor, CCG Ltd, while MAST Architects led the design team. The properties will be managed by Southside Housing Association and Loretto Housing Association.

As a key supplier to the scheme, Windoor designed, manufactured and supplied the bespoke System 1000 Light enclosures to specialist contractor, Martec Engineering, for final assembly and installation on site.

The architect who led the project for MAST, Alan Gordon, commented: “Southside Housing Association bought the site formally occupied by a garage, they saw the opportunity to provide a new development that could compliment the established community and cater for its wider needs. Southside have focussed on the provision of 34 general needs family housing, including a small number designed for wheelchair users while Loretto, part of the Wheatley Group, are providing 21 amenity flats for older people, adopting a “dementia friendly” design philosophy.

The exterior design incorporates a continental brick to provide a robust/ solid external perimeter facade as a continuation of the surrounding building form. Light weight cladding is used within the courtyard to provide a distinct transition between the building façades. The corner elevation of stepping Windoor balconies provide a signature for the development.”

“The Mosspark project is on a very tight site, so in order to offer every resident a ‘defensible’ outside space we opted to give each apartment a Windoor balcony. We have used them on other projects in the past and they have proved to significantly extend the number of months that residents actually use their balconies in Glasgow’s often harsh climate.”

Anyone who lives in or regularly passes modern apartment developments will realise how little open only balcony spaces are actually used; while on older, 1960s style tower blocks they tend to have become dumping places for old kitchen appliances or children’s bicycles. What is different about enclosed, protected balconies – often referred to as winter gardens or sun-spaces – is their sense of functionality.

MAST has been involved with half a dozen schemes where Windoor balconies have become viable additional living spaces: where residents place furniture and decorative items. Then there are the unseen benefits to the rest of the apartment space, with a typical two to four degree uplift to the room temperatures behind them; and even greater daylight transmission as the balcony doors can be left open on all but the chilliest of days.

Even the fabric of the building benefits as the balcony enclosures protect the main structure from the effects of weathering, with older precast concrete tower blocks being well served by such installations; especially in tandem with exterior wall insulation.

Returning to the specifics of Mosspark Boulevard, the development demonstrates the versatility and bespoke nature of Windoor’s technical offering, with the four and five storey apartments featuring a wide choice of balcony types. There are inset balconies along the road frontage, and double width corner balconies divided by a one hour firewall.  The courtyard balconies were supplied to Martec Engineering as modular sections which were assembled into pods 3.8 metres wide and 1.5 metres deep. They use lightweight galvanized steel sections overclad with fire-rated sheathing ply and 3mm thick powder coated aluminium cladding. 

All balconies feature sliding/ folding, clear toughened glazed upper sections, while the balustrades beneath are painted prior to lamination to prevent scratching.

While this is the third development on which Southside Housing Association’s residents have benefitted from the installation of Windoor balcony systems, the success of the Mosspark project has led to the specification of similar sun spaces on a further scheme with Loretto Housing Association.

The summer can be short-lived in these latitudes, and it is likely many more amongst Glasgow’s rapidly growing population will look at the Mosspark buildings and wish they could enjoy similar protection from the elements.

View The Latest Issue