St Mary Cray
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The Mount, St Mary Cray, Kent

 

Architecture and identity

 

Built on the site of a former orchard the existing Alkham and Horton towers bookend the village conservation area in St Mary Cray, Kent. Redescribing the towers and adding new houses and apartments creates a strategic composition of intermediate scale elements intelligently arranged to dovetail with the tree canopy. Rigorous site and historical analyses concede to a poetic and sensitive response where orchard references are extended into screen and cladding solutions based on abstracted pruning and training forms of apple trees.

 

Counter intuitively reducing impact by adding density, the new elements bridge between high and low rise forms and enlist the wooded bank to further soften the transition. A succession of shared but intimate orchard courtyards link the residential spaces and reintroduce historic uses on the site. A castellated walkway crosses the site making reference to the medieval pallisade that is thought to have protected an early medieval fort on the site.