White Design have worked closely with the Rural Renewal Company to develop their new concept for rural sustainable living, known as the Natural Living Centre in Gillingham, Dorset. Their involvement in the project has extended from initial comments on the brief through to in-depth discussions with the client and assessments of the potential site. The focus was on developing a solution that addressed the linked needs which are becoming critical for many rural communities: affordable housing, local economic decline, health and social issues around an increasingly ageing population, pressure on land and inadequate and/or polluting transport patterns.
This process led to an overall master plan for the site, a major mixed-use development, embodying and demonstrating the principles of sustainable development: personal, social economic and ecological, with a view to how the community might grow and sustain itself. This masterplan sets out to create an attractive, high quality environment that people truly enjoy living and working in. The scheme has been approached ‘from the earth in, from the people out’ enabling sustainable principles to become an integral part of both the masterplan and of the more detailed consideration of houses workspaces and services.