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Fraser Brown MacKenna wins Peabody housing go-ahead

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Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects has won outline planning permission for 280 homes in Hackney for the Peabody Trust

The practice is working with Bellway Homes on the East London scheme which also includes offices, shops and a 1,105m² community centre.

The architect’s view

The layout of the new development has been governed by the existing pattern of activities and uses around the site. We have used existing informal pedestrian routes and desire lines to form the basis for a formal movement network, comprising two main routes - one connecting Tolsford Road to Pembury Road and another ‘cutting the corner’ of Dalston Lane and Pembury Road. By connecting the two, in the centre of the site, we create a new ‘node’ which seeks to draw pedestrians away from the busy road interchange and into the heart of Pembury Circus.

These new routes divide Pembury Circus into three ‘parcels’. The movement network relates to the surrounding street pattern and provides a connection for pedestrians between the cul-de-sacs of the ‘new’ Pembury Estate, Pembury Road and Dalston Lane to encourage activity within and through Pembury Circus.

We have arranged new buildings around the perimeter of these new parcels. We have sought to continue the orthogonal grid layout of the buildings along Orchard Grove, Tolsford Road and Hindrey Road, creating new, private green spaces in the northern and eastern parcels, reflecting the landscape character of the surrounding area.

We have responded to the needs of the local community by providing new community facilities and new commercial facilities. We have located these non-residential uses on the ground floor of the buildings south and south west of the site, responding to the concentration of retail uses around the Pembury Circus road intersection. We have located new apartments on the ground floor of buildings to the north of the site. Access points to apartments on the upper storeys have been located to ensure activity along each frontage of the site.

Located at the south western corner of the site, the new community centre forms an important focal point - as well as a backdrop to the road intersection. At ground floor level it takes on a fluid plan form, drawing people into the new pedestrian street within the heart of the site .This fluid plan is not typical of other buildings in the local townscape, therefore on the upper storeys of this building, the form of the building takes on a more typical typology reflecting the scale and orientation of the surrounding urban grain.

We have responded to the opportunities provided by the road intersection and local planning policy to offer a taller building in the south western corner of the site. The height of the building has been carefully tested, with a variety of options explored, considering townscape and visual impact and local climatic conditions. The taller building rises to twelve storeys and the height of the adjacent buildings mediate between this taller element and the surrounding townscape. The taller building and the community centre will act as an important focus and gateway into the Pembury Estate.

We have ‘eroded’ the form of the buildings to encourage pedestrian movement through the centre of the site and to provide natural and interesting forms which also reduce climatic effects such as wind funnelling.

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