These ten affordable homes for Scottish Borders Housing Association, on the 1960’s Langlee housing estate in Galashiels, will be arranged in a curved terrace. The site’s width and its relatively steep slope does not facilitate a conventional street of houses with regular public front and private rear sides. Both elevations of the new housing in this instance are public facing; the north elevation is a frontage with house entrances and the south elevation, with its good view across the valley to Eildon Hills, is also a frontage but one that represents the scheme to the wider neighbourhood. Therefore both elevations have to balance the competing public and private demands. The parking courtyard is deliberately placed on the north side of the site so the housing terrace conceals it.
Considering that the Langlee housing estate is on the edge of Galashiels where the town meets the adjacent woodland and agricultural land, its architecture has a particularly urban scale. It is characterised by unconventional housing typologies; three storey point blocks to the north and west with a backdrop of four storey double maisonette blocks and terraced rows to the west, generally all set out with rigidity north and south aspects only.
Of these typologies, it is the terraced housing that is the most successful as it allows residents some private outside space. Its principal shortcoming, however, is that half the houses are generally entered from their back doors rather than their front doors facing the quieter pedestrian paths.
Photos by Angus Bremner Photography