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Stirling Prize: ‘We took an aspirational approach to providing high-quality housing’

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dRMM’s Steven Wallis on how they built the Stirling Prize-shortlisted Trafalgar Place

PLANS • SECTIONAL PERSPECTIVEDETAIL • MATERIALS • PROJECT DATA

With eight varied buildings set around an extensive public realm and steeped in the local context, Trafalgar Place provides homes with a unique sense of identity.

The design brief required a departure from the alienating size and monotonous, repetitive nature of the Neobrutalist Heygate Estate. Instead, we took an aspirational and innovative approach to providing high-quality housing that regenerates the neighbourhood. Through extensive public consultation with local residents, we extended upon the brief to infuse Trafalgar Place with the rich local context.

We established a mini-masterplan for the site that reconnects adjacent neighbourhoods across the ground plane, maintains existing mature trees, harnesses the opportunity for diversity through building height and breaks the site down into subplots. These sit around a central east-west pedestrian route through the site and are further differentiated from one another through unique architectural and landscape treatments. The masterplan prioritises pedestrian movements, giving over 46 per cent of the ground condition to public realm.

The massing and height of the Trafalgar Place buildings provide variety through scale, with a mixture of mini-towers, apartment buildings and townhouses. The triangular shape of the site offered an opportunity to establish a dynamic array of building arrangements and to frame views. However, it also meant repetition of apartment types was limited. Of the 235 apartments there are 97 different types, adding to the diversity of the development.

Consideration was given to activation of the ground plane, with residents’ front doors and shared facilities placed strategically, and a retail facility positioned to the southern tip of the site. The creation of the east-west pedestrian route reconnects adjacent neighbourhoods that were cut off by the original Heygate estate.

Working with landscape architects Grant Associates, we have improved public spaces with a woodland walk, new thoroughfares and an attractive central square, which serves as a residents’ courtyard garden that covers a car park beneath.

The retention of 25 mature London plane trees required extensive planning to maintain their overall health. The result is an established landscape that frames the site and gives the finished development a real sense of completeness.

Two of the buildings are built of cross-laminated timber, rather than in situ concrete, and are a demonstration of our aspiration towards environmentally responsible building. The superstructures of these buildings were constructed in just six weeks, a clear benefit in terms of the construction programme.

Each apartment has been designed from the inside out, maximising usable space and minimising internal corridors. All the homes have either a garden, balcony or roof terrace, while large windows capture natural daylight and establish views across the landscaped site and onto prominent city landmarks.

In response to the neighbouring context, brick was selected as the principal façade material. Eight types have been applied in various ways to create a sense of animation and expression between the façades. On some buildings the colours graduate vertically; on others, alternating recessed brick courses and whimsically oversized quoin junctions make reference to the adjacent 19th century Peabody Estate and its articulated façade.

Steven Wallis, dRMM associate and project architect, Trafalgar Place

 

 

Trafalgar Place by dRMM

Trafalgar Place by dRMM

Ground floor plan

Trafalgar Place by dRMM

Trafalgar Place by dRMM

First floor plan

Trafalgar Place by dRMM

Trafalgar Place by dRMM

Sectional perspective

Trafalgar Place by dRMM

Trafalgar Place by dRMM

Brick facade detail

Trafalgar Place by dRMM

Trafalgar Place by dRMM

Trafalgar Place by dRMM

Trafalgar Place by dRMM

The materials we used

Trafalgar Place by dRMM

Trafalgar Place by dRMM

Source: Stale Eriksen

  1. Portland Grey matt and Portland Beige matt bathroom tiles by British Ceramic Tile
  2. Ecodeck composite decking, Black and Pebble Grey
  3. Black anodised metal signage with etched and painted lettering
  4. Brown oxidised copper cladding, Light Nordic by Aurubis
  5. Brickwork
    (a) Selected Dark by Freshfield Lane Bricks
    (b) First Quality Multi by Freshfield Lane Bricks
    (c) Selected Multi by Freshfield Lane Bricks
    (d) Laybrook Multi Orange by Ibstock
    (e) Danehill Yellow by Freshfield Lane Bricks
    (f) Linfield Yellow Multi by Freshfield Lane Bricks
    (g) Anthracite by Freshfield Lane Bricks
    (h) Staffordshire Slate Blue Smooth by Ibstock
  6. Ventech back-painted glass rainscreen system, brown and white, by Sto
  7. Rumba Oak Natura engineered timber flooring by Tarkett
  8. Elevation 3 communal corridor carpet in colour ‘Valderras’ by Interface
  9. Back-painted glass kitchen splashback in colour ‘Slaked Lime Mid’ by Glasstops UK
  10. White North composite kitchen countertop by Silestone
  11. Cross-laminated timber structure and surface finish to stair cores by Stora Enso / Eurban

Trafalgar Place by dRMM

Trafalgar Place by dRMM

Source: Jim Stephenson

Project data

Completion 2015
Gross internal floor area 16,660m2
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect dRMM
Client Lendlease
Structural engineer Robert Bird Group
Services engineer TÜV SÜD Wallace Whittle
Acoustic consultant Sandy Brown Associates
Landscape architect Grant Associates (concept) Randle Siddley Associates (delivery)
Cost consultant Lendlease
Planning consultant DP9
Fire engineer Buro Happold
CDM co-ordinator Lendlease Consulting
Main contractor Lendlease
Specialist timber subcontractor Eurban

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