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Horizons Poole is a Retirement Living development for McCarthy & Stone which embraces the recommendations of the HAPPI report. Located on a site once occupied by St Joseph’s Convent, the development marks a gateway into the centre of Poole and acts as the main entrance to the historic Poole Park Conservation Area.

The vision for the building was to create a modern contextual signature building for Poole, carefully exploiting the spectacular views of Poole Park and Harbour, whilst appearing elegant from both closer and more distant views.  The apartments are designed to provide contemporary living spaces that reflect the needs of people in later life.  The design is an interpretation of streamlined modern architecture, alluding to Poole’s luxury motor yacht heritage and exemplary coastal architecture.

The shape of the building responds to the site, its curved wing relating to the gentle sweep of Churchfield Road.  The tower element consists of two homes per floor, within an elegant twelve-storey block.  The six-storey curved wing houses the Retirement Living apartments. 1.8m deep, full-width balconies provide a strong horizontal emphasis to the building whilst providing generous space for tables and chairs.  Internally the circulation is designed around twin atria, allowing light to penetrate the communal spaces. Recessed entrances to the apartments create a ‘soft’ threshold where residents can personalise the space around their entrance door.

The palette of materials is limited and of high quality; an off-white silicon-based render for the main external cladding, anodized aluminium to glazing and balcony handrails, and stone copings to the balcony parapet upstands.  The environmental approach was to utilise passive strategies, for instance, deep balconies are proposed to minimise overheating in summer, whilst allowing sunlight to penetrate into the building during winter.

The building features two levels of roof terraces, and a generous deck at ground floor, which serves as an extension to the communal lounge, function room and dining room.  Large windows and sliding glass doors to the restaurant and family rooms create a strong indoor-outdoor connection by allowing access to the deck.

Typical two and one bedroom units
Site plan

Overall, the external landscape design is that of a sensory garden for therapeutic use at ground level with seasonally varying views from the residents’ balconies. The appropriate use of non-slip materials and a rich variety of planting creates an enjoyable and user-friendly open space.

GHA developed Horizons to planning stage only.