Specialist retirement housing developer PegasusLife saw an opportunity to transform a vacant industrial laundry site. Consisting of 3,400 m2 of one- and two-bed, generously sized apartments for people aged over 55, the brief was to exceed a target net internal area and design shared facilities that promote a sense of community.


Local knowledge and careful negotiation with the planning authorities secured much higher densities than thought possible, boosting the project’s overall viability. Our concept is an efficient, buildable template building capable of being repeated, stacked and configured to make a south-facing courtyard. The system delivers high quality, roomy and adaptable living spaces that will more than satisfy the needs of the client’s target market.


Our contemporary architecture responds to the local Arts and Crafts mansion block context, tying the development into its local community. The primary circulation route is a colonnade linking public and private spaces, from then entrance into the shared courtyard, a unifying element that will promote friendly neighbourliness.


Working to an ambitious programme, we collaborated closely with the core project team to coordinate progress to meet our client’s targets.

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Light and context as key drivers

The building comprises a horse-shoe arrangement around a south-facing courtyard. The tallest parts are situated to the north of the site to avoid overshadowing whilst the lower, predominantly two storey east and west wings to the south respond to the existing semi-detached houses on Horsell Moor south.

Heartland Court

The south-facing central courtyard will be a focal point for residents of the development. A series of clipped privet hedges will create small private terraces for residents of the ground floor , while high-quality sandstone paving will establish a central thoroughfare for residents arriving by car and provide informal communal spaces where tables and chairs can be placed. The southern boundary of the courtyard will be screened off by a brickwork screen, making courtyard feel safe and secure. High quality planting beds will take inspiration from local habitats of Horsell Moor, with a selection of ornamental heathers, as well as other shrubs and perennials.

Respecting the neighbours

The building is two storeys in height to the south, responding to the height of the neighbouring semi-detached houses. The mass steps up to the north, with a single unit at five storeys.


All apartments are accessed off the central courtyard, creating an activated social space. Landscaping elements have been introduced to create subtle transitions from communal courtyard into private dwelling. These thresholds extend to the design treatment of the facade, which uses depth to create lobbies and incorporate bench seating.

Living in community

A first-floor social lounge with wood-burning fireplace, shared kitchen/dining area and an adjoining terrace offers views over the central courtyard.

Spacious feeling - fantastic daylighting and long views

All apartments are dual aspect, typically with living spaces facing the courtyard and kitchens facing the street. Top floor apartments benefit from higher ceilings and rooflights. Two bed apartments have living and kitchen/ dining spaces arranged diagonally, providing views through the entire length of the flat.

Project credits


  • Project Director: Steve Jones
  • Architect: Chris McHale
  • Architect: Heidi Wakefield
  • Architect: Dan Burns
  • Architect: Rafid Sulaiman
  • Architect: Tom Lea
  • Architectural Assistant: Arseni Timofejev
  • Architectural Assistant: Eugenia Pavone
  • Architectural Assistant: Joe Mercer
  • Architectural Assistant: Anna Rubin
  • Architectural Assistant: Catherine Blaney
  • Visualiser: David Deroo
  • : 


  • Structural: Symmetrys
  • M&E: Milieu Consult
  • Acoustics: Lee Cunningham Partnership
  • Building Control & CDM: Head Projects
  • Project Management: Gleeds
  • Landscape: Camlins
  • Transport: Odyssey Markides
  • Fire: WSP
  • QS: PMP Consultants
  • Daylight/Sunlight: EB7
  • Planning: Barton Willmore

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