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Beveridge Mews by Peter Barber Architects

More Homes, Better Homes: The AJ presents twelve exemplar housing schemes

Beveridge Mews is a social housing project set around a community garden in Stepney Green. The newly landscaped and densely planted garden has a delightful new terrace of eight large, contemporary family houses.

The row of houses is conceived as a continuation of the timber garden fences of the existing housing blocks. They are constructed from timber
and configured as a series of stepped and notched south and east-facing garden terraces, and they employ a unique courtyard/terraced housing hybrid typology.

Each house has a private entrance courtyard with fully glazed screens leading into both a bright and airy living area and separate kitchen/diner. Bedrooms at first and second floors have terraces and balconies looking out over the garden.

The houses are designed to provide large, family-sized homes to tackle problems of over-crowding in multi- generational households currently living in small apartments elsewhere on the estate. The houses have been carefully designed to maximise inclusive design and the large number of bedrooms is reflected in the over-sized communal living spaces. All houses are arranged at street level, with level access into all thresholds.

Peter Barber, director, Peter Barber Architects

Recommendation: ‘Verde’, Shoreham, Sussex by Hamish McKenzie


I’m fond of the idea that, when a building is finished, it isn’t finished. Look at the 30 or so houseboats at Shoreham in Sussex: settled in the estuary mud, homes and landscape in a state of gentle transformation. An architecture of make do and mend inventiveness, provisional and homespun… house as process, house as dream, house as artwork, house as life and as lifetime project. For me it is the best of all suburbias.

And so here a converted World War II minesweeper, there a hobbity half-timbered shack on floats, another all sheds and flowers, and my favourite, Hamish McKenzie’s ‘Verde’, a 1960s coach split down the middle, the roof filled in with a discarded aeroplane wing and then grafted onto the hull of a derelict passenger ferry.

I like this housing very much, but I also like its antithesis in planned streets and squares of urban housing in Brighton, Barceloneta and Belgravia or, more recently, Siza’s ‘Evora’, Aires Mateus’ old people’s housing and, closer to home, our own Donnybrook Quarter.

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