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Terracotta-coloured concrete accents Pocket Living apartment block by Gort Scott


The 45 one-bedroom apartments for Pocket Living in Walthamstow are aimed at providing affordable homes for first-time buyers 

The four-storey scheme’s massing is designed to respond to its terraced street context, with its profile stepping down to the west to align more closely with the roof height of neighbouring two-storey terraces, while also accommodating the slope in topography.

The project’s distinctive façade of fletton brick and precast terracotta concrete is designed to echo the Arts and Crafts detailing on local housing stock, as well as to recall the legacy of the William Morris School that previously stood on the site.

pr7 credit dirk lindner

The scheme has a large communal courtyard garden located to the rear of the site, while street-facing ground-floor units have their own private garden area, with hardy, low-maintenance planting creating a threshold to the scheme.

The apartments, now fully occupied, were sold at a minimum 20 per cent reduction from market rate, with eligible buyers required to live or work locally.

pr5 credit andrew tam

Architect’s view

The design is expressed by a contemporary typology that builds upon the existing character of the surrounding area, drawing upon the legacy of carefully crafted, decorative architecture in Walthamstow. Inspiration arrived from the legacy of the William Morris School that previously occupied the site and the late 19th-century set Warner Houses. This further informed the materiality of fletton brick, precast coloured concrete, graphite powder-coated metalwork and bespoke hand-glazed tiling.

At the initial design stage, the primary ambitions of the scheme were to maximise opportunities for resident interaction and to provide quality external amenity space for every home. This was achieved by the design of a large communal courtyard garden and the inclusion of communal seating throughout – all helping foster a strong sense of community. 

The entrance to the building extends the public realm within the site boundary and creates a generous visual connection from street to courtyard.

pr9 credit pocket living

Client’s view 

Gainsford Road met Pocket Living’s brief on all levels: good design which fits into the locality, good value materials detailed well, and overall delivered on budget. The development was 75 per cent occupied three weeks after practical completion and the first tomato plant appeared within the communal allotment space within the first week of occupation. By all accounts the common spaces foster community and it is a very positive place to own a home.

Angharad Palmer, head of design, Pocket Living

South and West elevations

Project data

Start on site February 2017
Completion March 2018
Gross internal floor area 2,671m²
Gross (internal + external) floor area 2,914m²
Form of contract JCT Design & Build 2011
Construction cost Confidential
Architect Gort Scott
Client Pocket Living
Structural engineer Tully De’Ath
M&E consultant XCO2
QS WT Partnership
Fire consultant JGA
Transport consultant TPP
Landscape consultant JCLA
CDM coordinator 3C Risk
Approved building inspector Assent
Main contractor PDR Construction
CAD software used Autodesk Revit 2017
Annual CO2 emissions 30kg/m²


Readers' comments (2)

  • Why the need for a Transport Consultant?

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  • it would be interesting to see images/plans of the school that was previously there and for the client to explain why is had to be demolished rather than converted....

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