Planning success for 28 new homes in Falmouth, inspired by paintings of Cornish coastal towns. - Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands

Planning success for 28 new homes in Falmouth, inspired by paintings of Cornish coastal towns.

The scheme, situated on the edge of the Falmouth Conservation Area, replaces a derelict nursing home requiring demolition due to structural instability and asbestos. 28 apartments are distributed across five small unconventional blocks, reaching up to four storeys. A deliberate hierarchy, adapting to the site’s steeply sloping topography, places the taller blocks to the less visible central area. Working with the challenges of this narrow site, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands have crafted thoughtful and generous homes that make the most of the sea views.

Drawing inspiration from the work of 20th Century artists attracted to Cornwall for its unique light who painted Cornish coastal towns, the design features a string of butterfly-shaped faceted white cubes. These structures capture the essence of the clustered white forms depicted in the paintings, employing plain materials to create depth and shadow to exploit the interplay of the cool Cornish light.

The Cornwall Design Review panel endorsed the scheme, commenting: “We are pleased to support the design of this project which will provide good residential amenity for the occupants and represents a welcome, innovative typology that will invigorate the urban setting, whilst at the same time making good and efficient use of this brownfield site.’’

Abigail Thomas, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands director, commented that: “I’m delighted that we have secured consent for this distinctive scheme. From the beginning we recognised the need for something special on this site. Our proposal takes inspiration from the unique light, the colours, the rich history and the architectural character of Falmouth, resulting in faceted forms that gracefully descend towards the sea.”

Projecting balconies are not typical in the Conservation Area amongst buildings of note, so the design recesses the balconies into the slots between the blocks offering external amenity for residents without overwhelming the facades. Natural, local stone and white painted render provide a cohesive and contextual appearance.

The landscaping, designed by BHSLA, translates the vernacular, using appropriate vegetation and local materials. Drawing inspiration from the region’s diverse flora and mild climate, incorporating a wide variety of Mediterranean and subtropical plants. The ground flora mirrors the Mediterranean garrigue, featuring evergreen shrubs, native plants like thrift, broom, and gorse, while wind-tolerant pine and sessile oak trees are strategically placed. The boundary walls reflect the character of the neighbourhood and the broader Cornish region.