Artisan launches new sustainable housing standards to boost low carbon city living

Urban regeneration specialist Artisan Real Estate has launched a new blueprint for sustainable development which it said responds to the changing requirements of local people and communities in a post-COVID world.

Communal space at Rowanbank Gardens

Smart, energy-efficient building design has been matched with an innovative approach to placemaking and community, introducing such creative concepts as green roofs, ‘edible’ gardens and green transport plans to sensitive city centre environments. Initially focusing on new homes’ projects in Edinburgh, the plan is geared to achieving low to zero carbon development - as well as creating a more open and landscaped environment to benefit general health and well-being.

Linking closely with the City of Edinburgh Council’s ‘Future Edinburgh’ strategy which aims to make the city carbon neutral within the next ten years, Artisan is now applying its radical design philosophy to two major developments in the city - Canonmills Garden to the north of the city centre and the recently acquired Rowanbank Gardens in the popular Corstorphine area and currently subject to a planning application.

“The challenges highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the importance of changing the way we deliver new home development,” explains Clive Wilding, Artisan’s group development director. “We are now very much going above and beyond the existing council guidelines as outlined in its ‘Future Edinburgh’ strategy. As well as reducing urban sprawl by optimising the number of people living in well-designed, sustainable homes in low car-use locations well-served by public and ‘self-propelled’ transport, we are also envisaging what people want from their living environment, post-COVID-19.

“Significant emphasis is placed on the quality of internal space and light to create enjoyable home-working environments, whilst accessible gardens and landscaping promote health and well-being by making nature and well-designed outdoor space integral to the day-to-day living experience.”

Artisan’s Canonmills Garden development, scheduled for completion in early 2021, has pioneered the integration of low and zero carbon generating technology. This includes a combined heat and power system helping to support building energy loads whilst charging electric vehicles, reducing both building and transport CO2 emissions. This strategy, combined with well-designed green roof spaces and climate responsive building facades, helps improve and enhance environmental integration, natural light provision and the quality of indoor and outdoor air.

Rowanbank courtyard at dusk

Similar development principles have been applied to the major planning application for 126 new homes at Artisan’s Rowanbank Gardens. The former care-home site in Corstorphine is set to answer the council’s requirement for well designed, high density living whilst providing spacious communal areas and well-established public transport links ensuring low car ownership. The development is designed around a central courtyard garden providing nearly twice the level of open space recommended by council planning policy, filled with fruit trees and communal planting and growing beds.  Apartments are designed for open plan living with large windows giving views of the courtyard and the wider area, while green roofs ensure benefits of surface water retention, insulation and ecology.

Artisan is perhaps best known in Scotland for large-scale city regeneration projects like the New Waverley, which has transformed the heart of Edinburgh’s historic Old Town. The developer is now applying the same values and philosophy which has guided the successful design and execution of New Waverley to its residential developments, setting it apart from other major homebuilders in Scotland.

“Remaining true to our urban regeneration credentials, at the heart of all Artisan’s developments is building a strong sense of place,” adds Clive Wilding. “We are specialising in niche urban developments in the most exciting parts of the city centre, creating a high-value premium product for a wide range of homebuyers, including young professionals, families and downsizers.

“Artisan now has an opportunity in Scotland to set a new benchmark for high quality urban regeneration in sensitive city-centre environments – whether it be commercial, residential or mixed-use. Our track record in Edinburgh and in Scotland has given us a strong understanding of the importance of high quality placemaking, which is at the heart of all Artisan’s developments.”

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