East Hanningfield Housing, Essex
by James Gowan (1975–78)

James Gowan, East Hanningfield Housing isometric, c. 1975, DM 2786.4.29 IN SET – Drawing Matter

James Gowan (1923–2015), Housing for East Hanningfield: isometric, c. 1975. Ink on paper. © Estate of the architect.

Commissioned by Chelmsford District Council, this development of 98 dwellings occupies a 6.5-acre site on the western edge of a small village and looks out to open countryside to the north and west.  The accommodation includes 44 one- and two-bedroom flats for the elderly, as well as 48 three-bedroom (five-person) houses; and 6 four-bedroom (seven-person) houses. The site separates pedestrians from vehicles on Radburn principles.

James Gowan, East Hanningfield Housing plot map, C. 1975, DM 2786.1.2 IN SET – Drawing Matter

James Gowan (1923–2015), Map of East Hanningfield Housing Plot, c. 1975. Black ink and colour pencil on printed map. © Estate of the architect.

James Gowan, East Hanningfield Housing full site plan, c. 1975, DM 2786.3.1 IN SET – Drawing Matter

James Gowan (1923–2015), Housing for East Hanningfield: plan, 1976. Ink on paper. © Estate of the architect.

James Gowan, East Hanningfield Housing plan and elevation, c. 1975, DM 2786.1.45 IN SET – Drawing Matter

James Gowan (1923–2015), Housing for East Hanningfield: plan and elevation, c. 1975. Pencil on paper. © Estate of the architect.

The old people’s flats have a preferential position in each group and face south. The symmetrical facade of these flats recalls a split pediment. The other houses are arranged in series.

James Gowan, East Hanningfield Housing axonometric, c. 1975, DM 2786.1.43 IN SET – Drawing Matter

James Gowan (1923–2015), Housing for East Hanningfield: axonometric, c. 1975. Pencil on paper. © Estate of the architect.

Additional roof space, accessible by loft ladder, is provided in each house by continuing the pitch past the ridge to form a triangular cavity over half the house plan.

James Gowan, East Hanningfield Housing, plan section elevation, c. 1975, DM 2786.6.1 – Drawing Matter

James Gowan (1923–2015), Housing for East Hanningfield: plan, section and elevation, c. 1975. Ink on paper. © Estate of the architect.

James Gowan, East Hanningfield Housing, plan section elevation, c. 1975, DM 2786.6.2 – Drawing Matter

James Gowan (1923–2015), Housing for East Hanningfield: plan, section and elevation, c. 1975. Ink on paper. © Estate of the architect.

James Gowan, East Hanningfield Housing, plan section elevation, c. 1975, DM 2786.6.3 – Drawing Matter

James Gowan (1923–2015), Housing for East Hanningfield: plan, section and elevation, c. 1975. Ink on paper. © Estate of the architect.

Alternating bands of buff and red brick and alternating blocks of colour of roof tile produce a subtle but slightly surreal scale.

James Gowan, East Hanningfield Housing colour elevation, c. 1975, DM 2786.1.13 IN SET – Drawing Matter

James Gowan (1923–2015), Housing for East Hanningfield: elevation, c. 1975. Black ink and colour pencil on paper. © Estate of the architect.

The whole development appears familiar yet strange. Bull’s-eye windows accentuate the precision while providing another alternating element, this time either round or rectilinear windows, within the whole scheme. The roof tiles provide the basic module of the scheme.

James Gowan, Housing at East Hanningfield, Essex, perspective, DM 2786.4.8 IN SET – Drawing Matter

James Gowan (1923–2015), Housing at East Hanningfield, Essex, perspective, 1975. Pen and ink on paper. © Estate of the architect.