The Masonic Villages Trust in Woburn commissioned us to design a new apartment building complementary to their existing rest home and hospital. The brief called for 86 independent-living apartments in a variety of one, two or three bedroom configurations. In order to create a sense of community, generous communal facilities are included, such as café and lounge spaces, a library, fitness suite, ‘man shed’, and conservatory spaces.

Working within an established residential area, we had to consider height and massing carefully to achieve the required number of apartments while making sure the building was sensitive to the character and scale of the surrounding neighbourhood. We successfully guided the scheme in order to obtain the required resource consent.

Locating the building along the site’s perimeter allowed us to create a sheltered internal courtyard in combination with the existing buildings. This outdoor space has been a great success for residents, being a private, sunny and protected shared environment for both the new apartments and the existing hospital and care home.

To blend the apartment building with the existing neighbourhood, we designed two storeys along the street to achieve a typical residential building scale. The building then steps up to three storeys further into the site in order to provide the required volume. We broke the building bulk further by creating different-sized volumes and using a variety of exterior finishes. The overall effect is of a series of smaller buildings layered naturally through the site.

Internally, generous double-height corridors with overhead glazing fill spaces with natural light. This creates a sense of grandeur and a feeling of being unconstrained. The entrance foyer offers a similar sensation with its double height and a sweeping grand staircase. Views from the first-floor landings overlook a wonderfully light-filled café. 

Through sensitive design and elegant interiors, the Masonic Village apartments offer high-quality accommodation where residents can live independently, yet have easy access to shared social areas.