Mallards & Acacia, Contemporary Housing Development, Cockfield, Suffolk

This new sustainable designed housing development is an example of contemporary housing development set within a historic context. It has been awarded the RIBA Suffolk Design Award Commendation 2020.

Beech Architects were tasked by a local housebuilder/developer to create contemporary designed highly sustainable and energy efficient houses in a conservation area adjacent listed buildings. The site was a derelict agricultural servicing yard for machinery and thus the new housing sees the reuse of brownfield land. The two houses are the first of 7 dwellings as part of the first phase.

The houses have seen the redevelopment of a derelict site and have created highly sustainable, low energy dwellings as an example of what housebuilders can create as direct  response to context rather than the generic standard house types. The houses received over 80 visitors on the first open day for sale showing there is a clear public desire for energy efficient contemporary homes. The new residents will benefit from low running costs, light and bright comfortable homes and a lower carbon footprint enhancing their wellbeing.

A full cost analysis of the first two dwellings has been carried out and enhancements and updates made to the designs for phase 2. All suppliers and employees on site came from a 30 mile radius and the scheme has created one new construction apprenticeship during phase 1.

Key features

  • in built photovoltaics with smartswitching
  • triple glazed
  • highly insulated to a standard twice that of the building regulations.
  • Air source heat pumps – heating and hot water run from the photovoltaics. Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery Systems- pre warmed fresh air using waste heat from bathroom and kitchen extracts.
  • green roofs with a sedum mix – to reflect local fauna.
  • Waste materials on site recycled and materials found on site such as a large pile of flints were designed in to the curved flint walls of the dwellings.
  • Concrete/brick rubble crushed on site rather than being removed.
  • The single depth plan – cross ventilation and natural light

The challenges of redeveloping this brownfield site in the conservation area and adjacent listed buildings were overcome through continual discussion and collaboration with the Local Planning Authority.

The hybrid construction methods of wide cavity walls, curves and timber frame were accommodated together with large format windows and incorporating low energy technologies creating a truly contemporary exemplar scheme to show what housebuilders can achieve alongside profitably. The designs ensure all internal walls are non loadbearing allowing the layout to be amended in the future to suit should occupiers needs change.

Developer – Ince Developments Limited


Cockfield, Suffolk