Kelly's Yard takes its name form HMS Kelly the destroyer once commanded by Lord Louis Mountbatten during World War II. The site for this new residential development of 448 homes occupies the location of the Hawthorne and Leslie shipyard on the banks of the River Tyne where HMS Kelly was constructed. 


Designed by DLA Design working in close collaboration with the Ollio Consultancy, Kelly's Yard will become one of the first zero carbon developments of its type to be constructed in the UK.


Hebburn Riverside Developments Limited (HRDL), were keen that the new development should incorporate a path to zero carbon, but in a way that also met with the challenges posted by what is a heavily contaminated ex-heavy engineering site.  To allow this to happen Ollio proposed a zero carbon strategy that prepared a path for zero carbon to be achieved over time to 2030, rather than all at once during construction. Its a strategy that suggests zero carbon is a way of being, a destination point, rather than an immediate design mandate. 


To underpin the strategy foe zero, innovative new methods of design and analysis have been developed, with design development being supported through the deployment of new and extremely powerful Evolutionary Algorithms (EA).  EA deploys powerful computing power to enable engineers to search through literally millions of combinations of possible envelope and building system permutations, contained within the architectural geometry, with the aim of finding those net zero energy outcomes that are the lowest or optimised cost to build.

In developing the energy and sustainability strategy, the narrative begins with the design of the new building’s fabric envelop, followed by the addition of heat pumps for single homes and renewable photovoltaic panels for all electric apartments.  The infrastructure for Electric Vehicles is in place and 20% of properties are fitted with EV charging points now.  Being all electric  and low energy through enhanced fabric, paves the way for the entire development to be zero carbon by 2030.

Further to optimizing use of energy and daylight the new homes will include measures for the conservation of water, prudent low carbon materials selection and the minimisation of transport and waste. A green sedum roof will add to the overall ecological habitat and biodiversity.

The project represents an innovative demonstrator for how buildings of the future need to be delivered through cross-disciplinary practice. It provides compelling evidence that the technology and the business case now exist for this to become the norm as the world enters a declared “climate emergency”.



Client : HRDL

Construction Value: undisclosed

Date: September 2020

Floor Area: 38,000m2


  • MVHR Ventilation

  • Near Zero Energy strategy

  • PV Panels integration

  • ASHP Heat Pump

  • EV integration

  • Home and vehicle smart energy monitoring

  • Rainwater recovery

Visualisation of EA thermal model.


Home Energy Consumption

EA Pareto Front of EA Strong Solutions (Each dot represents one modelled solution


New innovative P79 home in the countryside


Near zero energy P79 home in the countryside