Catherine Burd, Buddy Haward, Val Tse
We asked ourselves: Who are the clients? Imagine it's us. Where and how would we want to live - a family with two young children in central London?
We would want: a sense of community; good local facilities; low-energy sustainable design; a light- lled home; good views and, most importantly, private outside space. The project became about weaving green space into a dense urban footprint.
We proposed: two buildings, ranging in height from six to nine storeys, depending on their edge condition. In each we carved out a long wide central courtyard running north-south. This provides access to the accommodation that wraps around three sides of the site, and gives a double aspect to each of the homes. The courtyard is glazed over its full height and is central to the low energy strategy for the development. It acts as a communal threshold space, and contains tennis courts/playgrounds/ football pitches at various levels. The surrounding block of accommodation is then further cut in to at all levels to make spaces for private gardens and balconies. Larger (three- to four-bed) units each have a generous garden (9 x 5m), partially under cover, running along one side, and windows to three sides. The smaller units have balconies along their outside face. The majority of homes have an east/west aspect giving maximum light and views out. The courtyard, gardens and balconies perforate the urban block and enrich the internal and external elevations by allowing greenery to develop in the depth of the building, as well as allowing light and views through it.