Boxtree Affordable Housing – Completes!

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YOOP Architects announce completion of affordable housing project in Harrow

‘Fabric first’ approach promises reduced energy bills for residents


YOOP Architects announce the handover of keys by Sandwood Design & Build for an affordable housing project at Boxtree Lane, Harrow for Origin Housing Group.  Built according to ‘fabric first’ principles, the building is so heat retentive that residents should only need to switch on the heat during the coldest months of the year, if at all.

The development was built according to a demanding brief from the Origin Housing Group, whose priorities include reducing fuel poverty in the borough; they also wanted the finished housing to provide privacy and security in this challenging corner position.

YOOP Architects’ design used a ‘fabric first’ approach, which concentrates on ensuring the building is as well insulated as possible, and reduces the need for renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic panels and solar thermal panels – which would create another set of maintenance and cost for residents.

Said YOOP Architects’ partner Gordon Evans:  “We used a solid wall construction to minimise heat loss and reduce noise between flats.  The building has been structurally designed so that photovoltaic panels can be added in the future if needed, but the construction is so heat-retentive that we anticipate that most residents will only need to use heating in the coldest winter months, if at all.”

In addition to the thermal insulation properties of the walls, the building features a continuous ventilation system that uses outgoing air to heat incoming air.

Providing privacy and private amenity space was also a priority for the development, and YOOP achieved this by wrapping a generous balcony around the building and shielding the balcony space from public view using a high screen wall, to provide each flat has its own external amenity and storage space.

The Boxtree development is sited in a corner position, in the site of the derelict and vandalised Box Tree public house.  The design used this corner position to great effect: all the flats and houses are dual aspect, all the rooms have windows including kitchens and bathrooms, and the four houses in the development have access to a secure and private communal garden.


The development has 14 dwellings of mixed sizes, and provides flexible accommodation, which will be available on shared ownership basis.

In addition to four houses, the development has a six-bedroom flat, which is quite unique in London.  It has a generous terrace to the front, a private garden space to the rear, and a layout that has been designed for easy conversion to 2x two bedroom flats should the six-bedroom layout no longer be required.  It also contains nine flats with private balconies.

YOOP Architects undertook the design and liaison with local residents and community police for Origin Housing Group. The building was delivered by Sandwood Design & Build with YOOP employed on a design & build contract.  The build cost was approximately £1.8 million.

– Ends –

About the Boxtree Housing development

·     The building was constructed using a fabric first approach, to reduce heat loss and reduce the transmission of noise between dwellings
·     The scheme was also designed with WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) principles.
o  The single block wall construction reduced the amount of block by almost a metric tonne compared to a cavity wall construction.
o  Walls were covered with wet plaster rather than plasterboard, which gives a more robust finish, and aids in air tightness, which is key to achieving high thermal standards.
·     Boxtree has been designed to add photovoltaic panels on the main roof areas, which face South, making the scheme a model for achieving zero carbon homes by 2016 as defined by the code for sustainable homes.

About YOOP Architects

YOOP Architects ( is a London-based architectural practice that specialises in delivering a seamless approach to commercial and domestic building.

The Boxtree Development in North Harrow

Photograph by Tim Crocker please credit

(Other Images available please email


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