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FIRST LOOK

Child Graddon Lewis’s mixed-use Paddington block includes UK’s tallest school

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The Dudley House scheme for Westminster City Council includes 197 affordable homes, a permanent home for Marylebone Boys’ Secondary School, a church and retail unit

Sited on a 4,000m² footprint, Dudley House is Westminster’s largest-ever design-and-build contract scheme and intended as a flagship project in the borough’s inclusive ‘City for All’ programme – creating affordable homes and community infrastructure within a highly constrained and commercial urban location.

Child Graddon Lewis’s design approach has been to clearly express the split between all the main uses, with each having an identifiable entrance facing on to separate streets and with separate circulation cores.

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The residential element, wheelchair accessible throughout, is 22 storeys high and clad in terracotta. The homes are a mix of studio,one-bed and two-bed units, all dual-aspect and offered at intermediate rent. The dwellings created contribute to the council’s programme of house-building, which aims to deliver 22,000 new homes by 2040.

The nine-storey secondary school, the tallest in the UK, accommodates Marylebone Boys’ School, a new school which spent its first four years in several temporary locations. Inside, the school has a central atria and the design includes a flexible hall space with retractable seating at basement level. Working with the limitations in space, the design also incorporates a netted play area at roof level.

The church, meanwhile, provides a new home for the local Central Pentecostal Church, which had previously operated in a dilapidated, poorly converted terrace house.

The building uses a central energy centre based upon a Combined Heat & Power system, which reduces the carbon emissions of the building by 40 per cent. On-site renewable energy is generated by rooftop photovoltaics.

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Architect’s view

The design approach was to place a vertical split between all main uses. This not only inspires an identity for the residents, pupils and school staff, church congregation and retail business, but allows for more flexibility within the design process while maximising the available footprint of the site. For example, the problem with placing housing above the school – which would have been a viable design solution – is that the layout of the school is inevitably constrained by the structural configuration of the housing above. Also, having playground amenity space between floors means they’re not strictly open-air spaces.

Overall, we believe Dudley House provides a development that will foster a sense of community, completing one of the missing pieces of the Paddington Basin masterplan jigsaw. The vibrant mix of uses will ensure that this stretch of Paddington is much more than just a place where people work.

James Felstead, director, Child Graddon Lewis

Ground floor plan

Ground floor plan

Client’s view

Dudley House is an essential part of Westminster’s commitment to transforming our city into a ‘City for All’, delivering at least 1,850 much-needed affordable homes by 2023 with thousands more to follow. We could not have delivered this ambitious project, and 197 affordable homes, without the support and vision of our partner Child Graddon Lewis.

We asked a lot of them. It was a real challenge to deliver 197 new homes of a high standard, a secondary school with enough outdoor and play space, a church and retail on a highly constrained site in Paddington. The practice worked collaboratively at every stage, always acting in partnership with Westminster officers and our contractor, Wilmott Dixon Construction, to deliver a highly efficient building which makes effective use of the land and serves all its users equally.

It is through the architect’s innovative design that the 840-pupil school was delivered despite the constraints of a highly urban environment and limited space on site. A nine-storey vertical-school was built around a bright atrium, with the roof cleverly adapted to provide an outdoor football pitch and classroom spaces designed to be flexible and multi-purpose. Equally, they designed the residential element to provide 197 homes of outstanding quality, with a degree of privacy and calm that you might not expect of a building in the heart of Paddington and just off the A40 flyover.

Paul Choat, head of construction, Westminster City Council

Mixed use sketch

Mixed use sketch

Project data

Start on site January 2017
Completion October 2019
Gross internal floor area 25,815m²
Cost Undisclosed
Client and developer Westminster City Council
Architect Child Graddon Lewis
Employer’s agent and construction management Currie & Brown
Main contractor Willmott Dixon Construction
Structural engineer Structa
M&E consultant TGA & Kane Group Building Services
Sustainability engineer 
TGA & Kane Group Building Services
Planning consultant WYG & Union 4 Planning
Approved building inspector Westminster Building Control
Energy assessor Chapman BDSP
Ecology Middlemarch Environmental
Acoustic consultant Spectrum
Daylight and sunlight CHP Surveyors
Transport Meyer Brown
Landscape Keary Design Associates
Façade engineers Inhabit
Balconies subcontractor Sapphire Balconies, BA Systems
Roofing and waterproofing IKO
CAD software used Revit

Performance data

Assessment rating Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 (Residential), BREEAM ‘Very Good’ (School)
Gross final energy consumption 129.83 kWh/m²/yr
Total on-site renewable energy generation 308523.00 kWh/yr
U-values (W/m²K) Whole envelope 0.29, Walls 0.15, Roof 0.14, Doors 0.54, Windows 1.20
Air Tightness 3.0 m³/H.m²

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