Terrace of five town houses and four flats that incorporates the southern vehicular entrance to Cofferidge Close.
Designed as an integral part of Cofferidge Close, 1970-76 by Derek Walker, chief architect to the Milton Keynes Development Corporation (MKDC), project architect Wayland Tunley.
Reason for Listing
7-23 Silver Street, Stony Stratford, including the covered entrance to Cofferidge Close, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: a skilfully designed and integrated terrace of town houses which survive as an early phase of the significant post-war contributions of the Milton Keynes Development Corporation, under architects Wayland Tunley and Derek Walker.
* Planning interest: flexibly-planned town houses that form the southern boundary and integrated covered entrance to the contemporary shopping centre; their enclosed courtyard gardens and first floor principal living space with balconies respond to the open green space, historically an orchard, of the wider development;
* Materials: expressive use of brick, a modern interpretation of the local vernacular tradition;
* Degree of survival: high level of intactness of plan form, original materials, fixtures and fittings;
* Historic interest: an integral part of Cofferidge Close, a commercial and residential development, set within a carefully-designed landscape that reflected the historic use of the site. It was the first phase of development by the well-known Milton Keynes Development Corporation, establishing it in the existing historic market town of Stony Stratford.
Cofferidge Close, a commercial, retail, community and residential development, was designed and built between 1970-76 by Milton Keynes Development Corporation (MKDC) under Derek Walker, coinciding with his period in office as chief architect to the MKDC, and project architect Wayland Tunley. Work started on site in July 1973. It lies within the Stony Stratford Conservation Area (designated 6 August 1975).
Milton Keynes is significant as the most ambitious new town to be planned and built in England during the post-war period following the New Towns Act of 1965. Designated as a new town in 1967, it was laid out on a grid plan that overlay or incorporated the established towns of Bletchley, Wolverton and Stony Stratford. While the residential areas reflected the informal village character they replaced, the centre was intended as a 'downtown strip', an American-style grid lined with sleek, urban buildings of a Miesian character (referencing the work and style of the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1886-1969), most successfully realised in the Shopping Building (Listed Grade II).
Stony Stratford is a historic market town laid out on a linear plan that straddles the historic route of the A5 (Watling Street), close to the River Ouse. To the south of the High Street deep plots, following the medieval burgage pattern, run back to Silver Street, the historic back lane. Set back from the High Street to the north-west and south-east of Cofferidge Close are the Market Square and Horsefair Green. Historically Cofferey’s Close was an open space, that by the late C17 was bounded by buildings, and in the early C18 was recorded as a fruit orchard. Prior to the development of Cofferidge Close, the site was divided between a number of owners and tenants, the principal player being Flemings agricultural hardware business fronting the High Street, which also had yards to the rear, while the southern end of the site was laid out with gardens and orchards, largely owned by the local authority.
The land was acquired by the MKDC but care was taken to integrate the development into the existing fabric and market town economy of Stony Stratford, working to a brief to provide flexible commercial, small-scale retail, communal and residential facilities. With MKDC as the main users of the office space this would ensure their occupation and established MDKC's presence in the town. While the shopping centre reflects the Miesian philosophy that underlies the plan and structure of the new town, it was designed at a scale and using carefully chosen materials that were considered sympathetic to the local vernacular tradition. The height of the development was restricted so that it did not exceed the surrounding buildings; hand made brick cladding reflected the local preponderance of brick-built buildings.
The building was enlivened with street sculpture in the form of Christine Fox’s bronze fountain, Batrachian Cascade, placed near to the supermarket entrance and with hanging and wall-mounted signage which reflected the tradition of street and shop signage in the town. Consideration was given to reduce the impact of the development by rich landscaping which retained many of the existing trees and introduced green partitions between the building and car parks, in the form of planted pergolas framing the walkways, and with seating. At the boundaries of the development small scale projects such as the extension to the rear of 27-31 High Street knitted the new development into the existing building stock. Subsequently the north-eastern block facing the High Street was extended at the rear and the fountain was removed. The seating has also been removed and while some of the hanging and wall-mounted signs remain in place, the majority have been dismantled. A separate Health Centre was built to the north-west of the site, outside Cofferidge Close.
MATERIALS: reinforced concrete frame with load-bearing external brickwork and cladding in Colliers handmade Georgian Red facing bricks, a textured brick laid with deep joints that was also used for the main building at Cofferidge Close.
PLAN: the southern edge of the site is bounded by the three-storey row that comprised five town houses, three single-bedroom flats and a studio above the vehicular entrance to Cofferidge Close. Each has two outlooks, over the urban setting of Silver Street to the south and the open landscape of the Close to the north. Although some have been subsequently subdivided, the majority retain their original floor plan.
The three-bedroom town houses were laid out on three floors, with the main living area at first floor level. Each house opens onto a small enclosed garden at the rear and a large balcony at first floor level that gives an open view over the gardens and southern end of the main building. The project team considered that small courtyard gardens were sufficient because the wider aspect provided by the Close acted as a garden extension. The ground floor comprised an entrance hall with a WC leading off it, a kitchen and dining room overlooking the garden and a small multi-purpose room at the front. The first floor was laid out as an open plan living room for which the balcony effectively forms an outside extension and leading off the living room at the front, a small study. The upper floor had three bedrooms and a bathroom.
EXTERIOR: Silver Street elevation in seven bays, of which the sixth bay includes a two-storey entrance to the Close. Houses are of three-storeys, the upper storey having an asymmetrically-pitched mansard roof. As with the main building at Cofferidge Close, each unit is recessed between full-height piers that are flush with the cornice. The ground floor is clad in vertically-ribbed panels with matching front doors, punctuated by narrow full-height windows. Horizontal first floor window units, in black anodised aluminium, each of six lights, fill each bay between flush brick panels. The upper floor has a continuous glazed mansard.
At the rear, each unit is contained behind a high brick wall forming a small courtyard garden, each with a small outside shed. Full-width ground floor rear windows in the manner of a glazed wall, and set back beneath the balcony, open onto the courtyard. Similar full-width first floor rear windows are set back under brick soffits and open onto secluded first floor balconies, each set between brick party walls. Balconies have timber balustrades or deep planters and afford views over the open leafy landscape at the southern end of Cofferidge Close. The upper floor is lit by a continuous glazed mansard similar to the south facing elevation.
Covered vehicular entrance with brick lined soffit and exposed brick-clad beams; the opening is flanked by brick clad piers, brick kerbs and paviors and enlivened with wall-mounted signage to Cofferidge Close.
INTERIOR: most houses retain their original floor plan, where the internal structural piers are exposed. Flexible ground and first floor plan where fully-glazed rear walls and quarry tiled ground floor flooring diminish the barrier between inside and outside spaces. Stairs have a solid, timber framed balustrade and timber handrail. Flush-panel internal doors and fitted cupboards, some with original door furniture.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.