Rio Architects

Modern homes in a world heritage setting


Heritage Gardens




Architecture, Masterplanning & Urban Design, Digital Construction, Sustainable Design

Heritage Gardens is a 1.8-hectare housing scheme by Melin Homes. It sits on the site of a former primary school in the historic town of Blaenavon.

Working closely with Melin, we created a development to meet their key objectives – to create 53 contemporary and affordable rent and low-cost homes that reflect the rich history of Blaenavon.

Reflecting world heritage status

The design principles revolve around creating a distinctive environment that reflects the town’s World Heritage status and takes reference from the historic pattern of streets seen in varied forms in the surrounding area.

The 2, 3 and 4-bed homes echo the two-storey terraced properties of the surrounding streets, employing a combination of render and brick. Tall windows bring plenty of natural light into the homes, and dual-fronted windows maximise light in the downstairs living areas.

A stack square arrangement

Carefully designed to elevate shared spaces, the site’s configuration ensures a sense of safety for pedestrians and maintains low vehicle speeds. As a result of its location on the slopes of Blorenge Mountain, we also took advantage of the excellent southerly views across the Afon Lwyd Valley.

Inspired by Blaenavon’s historic ‘Stack Square’ arrangement, the western part of the site features terraced housing surrounding a green square – a focal point when approaching the site from the east and west entrances, tying the development to the town’s roots.

Beyond aesthetics

Beyond aesthetics, the design aims to promote community, connectivity, and inclusivity while integrating the needs of modern family life, successfully weaving a narrative that respects the past, embraces the present, and builds a sustainable future for Blaenavon.

Driving efficiency and growth