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Levitt Bernstein completes later life housing in Lewisham

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Hazelhurst Court provides affordable rented accommodation for older people in Beckenham, south London

Developed by Phoenix Community Housing and designed by Levitt Bernstein, with funding from the Mayor of London and Lewisham Council, the project delivers 60 extra care homes and integrated communal space on a constrained urban plot. 

Working around a 1960s flat block, the scheme is comprised of two new buildings. The first adjoins the existing block, forming a horseshoe around a new courtyard, while creating a new edge to an underused green space to form a second courtyard. Another smaller building sits opposite, separated by a newly landscaped street and surrounded by planting. 

All 60 homes will be available for affordable rent through Lewisham Council. Fifty-eight have one bedroom, of which six are wheelchair accessible, and two have two bedrooms. On-site care will be provided by Notting Hill Housing Group. 

Hazelhurst 5

Hazelhurst 5

Source: Tim Crocker

Architect’s view

All homes are dual aspect to provide a visual connection to the courtyards and neighbouring streets, so that even if residents aren’t able to go outside often, they benefit from seeing activity in these spaces. Planters located on access decks in front of kitchen windows add to the sense of greening, while offering the opportunity for home growing and personalisation. 

A new garden room between the two courtyards provides light-filled communal space directly onto these external spaces. Featuring a lounge, dining room, café, commercial kitchen and TV suite, this hub for new and existing residents accommodates a whole host of activities that can spill out into the courtyards if space demands and weather permits. 

The façades of the new buildings, which range from four to five storeys, are directly informed by the location and layout of homes. Brick lattice screens in front of entrance doors provide a degree of privacy, whereas areas in front of planters and seating are open. The use of Mystique brick is sympathetic to the architectural context and creates a robust and high quality finish, complemented by a simple palette of glass and metal. 

Hazelhurst ground floor plan

Hazelhurst ground floor plan

The chequerboard effect created by the strong grid of the elevations extends into the landscape, with the enclosed courtyard featuring a fish pond, seating areas and planters at different levels to form a rhythm and geometry across the space. The larger external courtyard is much more open in nature, comprising a walking loop, patio and trees to provide physical and visual stimuli. A street at the heart of the development ties all of the new and existing elements together – its shared surface simultaneously aiding those with mobility issues and reducing the dominance of the car. 

Despite a challenging site and tight budget, we have made the most of every millimetre to provide high quality homes for residents at Hazelhurst Court. By staying true to our overarching design principles, they will all benefit from light-filled homes with access and views to green spaces, which are so important for their physical and mental wellbeing.  

Irene Craik, director, Levitt Bernstein

Client’s view

Hazelhurst Court is Phoenix’s first residential development, and we couldn’t be prouder of these amazing new extra care homes. It’s clear that each apartment has been designed with older people in mind, and it’s the quality of the finished homes that has led to such a positive response and demand from residents. The design is particularly impressive given how tight the original site was and the finished building is incredibly complementary to our existing properties on the site. I’m confident that the quality of the building, external landscaping, and open and spacious communal areas will benefit not only our residents, but also the broader community.

Jim Ripley, chief executive, Phoenix Community Housing

Hazelhurst 7

Hazelhurst 7

Project data

Start on site 2015
Completion 2017
Gross internal floor area 4,345m2
Form of contract or Design & Build
Construction cost £12.7 million
Construction cost per m²
Levitt Bernstein
Client Phoenix Community Housing
Structural engineer Ridge
M&E consultant Calford Seadon
Quantity surveyor / cost consultant Potter Raper
Landscape architect  Levitt Bernstein
CDM coordinator
 Potter Raper
Approved building inspector NHBC
Main contractor Rydon
CAD software used Revit

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