Providing modern homes that reflect the rural setting

Page/Park’s Jonathan Walsh, project architect for a new 23-unit housing development in Kirkintilloch, provides an overview of the initiative to provide much-needed affordable housing in the area.

project info

PagePark has been commissioned by the Link Housing Association to develop new affordable housing in a rural setting in Kirkintilloch. The property was previously a nursing home and part of an existing residential area on the outskirts. Surrounded by beautiful countryside, the site overlooks the Campsie Fells to the north and views of the Forth and Clyde Canal to the south.

page layout

Located on a semi-rural main road leading out of Kirkintilloch, the site nestles between two detached houses and stretches out to the Forth and Clyde canal, hidden behind a band of large mature trees.

The design opens up a pathway to the canal and trees creating a barn road within a mini master plan from which all 23 properties are accessible within two linear blocks. The shorter block reflects a nearby villa, while the other blocks take full advantage of the low-lying site with an east-west orientation, avoiding creating a “backcountry” area behind the linear site.

The paved stables act as a shared surface to create a courtyard feel by minimizing road/walkway/parking area and maximizing traffic and garden area, encouraging social interaction among residents. The stables end with a parking area and a communal garden that blends into the existing landscape. The rear gardens overlook the boundaries of neighboring gardens which are well defined with existing trees and shrubs.

architectural form

The development follows the staggered villa block pattern along Kilsyth Road. The shape ties in with similar barn-like plots of nearby properties, reflecting the rural nature of the area and creating a distinctive identity for the project. Two gabled façades maintain the existing rhythm of the buildings along the street, incorporating a “roof space” of the third floor in the asymmetrical gabled roofs, while the eaves line reaches a single floor to mediate between the adjacent villas.

The site rises from Kilsyth Road to the canal, stepped floor levels are used on the ground floor to give level access across the site. The program offers a variety of apartment and duplex types with a mix of main entrance and close-access community properties. Two wheelchair accessible apartments are included in the development which include covered carports that also serve as a distinctive entrance at the front of the site.

The basic cross-section is an asymmetric 45 degree pent roof to create the second floor “rooms in the roof” apartments. A step in the longer block slows down the large mass and articulates the step forward in steps, with a coplanar roof to the rear.

All elevations are designed with large recesses in the form of carports, closed entrances and gabled conservatories.

The palette of materials attempts to root the buildings in their context, using similar tones and textures to the surrounding villas. The use of tumbled brick ensures that the overall mass of the buildings retains a rural feel, while the vertically hung tiles are used as a feature throughout the development to enliven the elevations. The development uses untreated stainless steel balustrades and sheet piling to further embed it in the rural setting.


Just as the outdoor areas are conducive to social interaction, the terminations have been designed to provide similar opportunities for social interaction with large open spaces and platforms. The tall curtain wall glazing on either side of the ends brings in plenty of natural light and encourages casual, informal encounters between residents.

A short floor plan depth ensures all units have a dual aspect, with a series of window openings in all apartment types flooding the interiors with natural light while creating depth and allure on the elevations. The floor plan of the ground floor is repeated up to the first floor, while the apartments on the second floor run through the apartments below, creating a variation in the section. Cottage apartments at the rear of the property offer conservatories to the second floor apartments which offer elevated views of the canal.


The project achieved the Silver Active standard and demonstrated low embodied energy with well insulated and airtight walls, floors and roof, together with high performance windows and doors and a timber frame with no thermal bridges. This is complemented by solar PV arrays on the pitched roofs and SUDS in the rear parking lot.

project team

Client: housing association Link

Civil Engineer: Fairhurst

Project managers and cost consultants: Armor Construction Consultants

CDM Coordinator: Main CDM

Contractor: McTaggarts Construction

Landscape Architect: Mike Hyatt Landscape Architects

Photographer: PagePark Architects

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