design guidance

Coldingham-Bogangreen - Supplementary GuidanceOur work throughout the UK has given us a broad perspective on recent initiatives in new residential design and implementation through design briefing, design guidance and design coding. Each is different and each has seen varying degrees of success.

The reality of so much commercial development – whether for housing or other uses – is that developers seek to extract the maximum value at the earliest possible stage, without recognising that a greater value can be created by establishing a strong brand identity and quality over time.

To create a strong sense of place that is more than just a collection of individual buildings, it is necessary to orchestrate the elements within some constraining parameters which reinforce each other, creating strong place-identity. Ideally, this should be drawn from context. This does not mean religiously replicating an assembly of traditional buildings, internal layouts, or external materials. Rather it means understanding, appreciating and drawing from the positive aspects local areas and building these into something contemporary. Attractive, desirable quality places – which are socially inclusive, rather than exclusive – are the key to fostering successful areas in the long term and design guidance can help to achieve this, for example through:

  • the opportunity to create a special places through careful orientation and attention to landscape setting
  • asserting a distinctiveness and strong identity
  • determining the spatial structure of streets and buildings
  • optimising community benefits and viability if possible
  • flexibility and evolution in the approach

Twechar Design Guide Section 01
We have been advocates of design briefing, guidance and coding for many years and have considerable academic and practical experience of using the various forms of guidance to achieve the best results in different circumstances. This is demonstrated in our recent work on Supplementary Planning Guidance for 15 potential housing sites for Scottish Borders Council and in the Twechar Design Guide for the Twechar Regeneration Group and East Dunbartonshire Council.

Willie Miller, the founder and principal of WMUD, died on 12th January 2021 after a short illness. Willie was a much-loved husband and father and had a huge circle of friends  and professional colleagues. He was a multi-talented urban designer whose work had a major impact on hundreds of cities, towns and neighbourhoods throughout the UK and over the past 25 years. He also worked in Ireland, the Channel Islands and the USA.

Ines Triebel has been with WMUD since 2005, and she will continue the practice, drawing on her skills as a planner and designer. Ines has worked on place strategies, masterplans, policy guidance, regeneration and development frameworks, and the design of public realm and streetscape projects. She has extensive experience of working with communities, including charrettes.

WMUD will continue its long-standing strategic partnerships with Benton Scott-Simmons, Nick Wright Planning, Kevin Murray Associates, icecream architecture, yellow book and others. Please direct inquiries to Ines at [email protected] or contact any of the practices named above.