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House Plan: Sally Lewis on the Accordia masterplan

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In the sixth of a new series looking at influential housing plans, Sally Lewis of Stitch chooses Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios’ masterplan for Accordia

My first experience of the well-known - and Stirling Prize-winning - Accordia development was seeing the masterplan sketches produced by Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects.

The sketches have a wonderful embodied energy that gave me an immediate sense of what this place might be like. How a place really feels is a deeply personal experience, and it is quite possible that the reality and the world of the sketch are two distinctly different experiences, which often don’t match.

I recently visited our first completed project, also a considerable journey from an initial sketch to the finish. The visit was a tumultuous experience. I loved the streets we have created. But it was bin day and they were a bit of a mess. And my favourite terrace of houses was littered with satellite dishes: how did that happen? I also spoke to an amazing woman on the street who effused about her wonderful new home to the extent that I became suitably embarrassed by her praise. This experience of the place was nowhere in my vision when I did my first sketches for this scheme.

It is with a bit of envy that I admire the vision for Accordia as a ‘rug upon a carpet of landscape’: sites with landscape as inspiration are hard to come by in central London regeneration projects. But along with their poetic interpretation of landscape, Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects’ great achievement here was their orchestration of a perfect collaboration between architects. Their vision to use landscape and the now ubiquitous ‘Mystique’ brick to bring together the richness of the architects’ contributions was a masterstroke.

Accordia’s success is the result of an initial visionary idea, and extensive design rigour to make it happen. With the current trends in deregulation we need to remember the value of schemes like this to keep our hearts happy.

Sally Lewis director of Stitch



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