Coombe Farm

We were appointed by a private developer to design a contextually sensitive, community-focused housing development on a former dairy-farm bordering the South Downs National Park.


The brief, developed in collaboration with the Client and local Council placed an emphasis on reducing visual impact on the surrounding National Park, increasing density and improving the ecological value of the site. Inspired by the site’s point-of-transition between 20th Century suburban housing and the National Park, we clustered housing units around a series of home zones, or ‘Yards’, within informal barn-like buildings to evoke the character of a traditional farmstead. This allowed a large part of the site to be dedicated to a landscaped communal amenity space we named ‘The Common’, providing new ecological habitats and creating a soft transition between the development, neighbouring suburban housing and countryside beyond.

Remote car parking and a cul-de-sac layout create a cycle, child and pedestrian-focused environment with communal furniture designed to encourage moments of neighbourly interaction.

Buildings are positioned to establish an instant sense of proximity, place and engagement with the public realm. A detailed landscaping scheme with porous agricultural surface materials, native planting and tree copses was developed to reinstate the ‘wooded Coombe’ landscape character of the site prior to its development as a modern dairy farm.

The scale of the project: 72units across 3.31 hectares.

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