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Adjaye and others help redesign Grenfell estate

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David Adjaye’s practice is part of a team of architects working with residents on an overhaul of the west London housing estate hit by the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower

Adjaye Associates is joined by Cullinan Studio, Levitt Bernstein, Maccreanor Lavington, Murray John Architects and Penoyre & Prasad on the high-profile refurbishment of the Lancaster West Estate.

The practices are working with the Lancaster West Residents Association, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and central government on ideas for a ‘resident-led’ transformation of the housing complex.

Lancaster West was built from a masterplan drawn up by Clifford Weardon Architects in the late 1960s. The local council and central government have committed £15 million each to the scheme to improve it and the overall budget could rise.

A presentation from the architects working on early concepts for the refurbishment said at a public event earlier this month: ‘We see ourselves as facilitators to help residents create a design vision for the refurbishment and improvement of their homes and the wider estate. Residents will also be involved in the selection of architects for future stages of the refurbishment.’

A number of ‘early ideas’ - such as ‘more secure’ street entrances – were mooted by the architects in the presentation.

Lancaster west estate (2)

The council has promised that the scheme will create ‘a model estate where the community can be proud to live’ and ‘a sustainable estate that can be maintained to a high standard’.

Demolition of people’s homes has been ruled out.

More than 150 people attended an ideas day held earlier this month, and suggestions are being collated into a book that will be presented to the community and used to inform the refurbishment project.

A brief will be prepared, followed by detailed work to design the refurbishment. Subject to full consultation, planning and procurement, works could begin on site next summer.

Speaking about the proposals at a recent council meeting, councillor Kim Taylor-Smith, deputy leader at Kensington and Chelsea Council, said: ’Residents on the Lancaster West estate are already working with us on the multi-million pound refurbishment of their homes.

’The residents are in the driving seat’

’They are in the driving seat, creating their model estate. It is an approach I want to see repeated across all our estates.’

Landscape architects Andy Sturgeon Design and built environment consultant Twinn Sustainability are also working with the chosen practices, alongside independent adviser Newman Francis, facilitator Fluid, the Lancaster West Residents Association, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and central government.

The fire at Grenfell Tower last summer claimed the lives of 71 people and left many more without a home.

It was announced earlier this month that decisions on the future of the site of the fire would be transferred to a body made up of residents and representatives of the bereaved.

The council said improvements to the Lancaster West estate would be ‘sensitive to, and not negatively impact’ the site of the fire.

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Readers' comments (4)

  • This team has its work cut out. I doubt it will be a smooth passage many issues to consider not least the ongoing inquiries and criminal investigations.

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  • That is a big diverse team of architects to deal with a complex project.
    I am reminded of my mother who would at times use conflicting quotes - like firstly - "Many hands make light work" and follow it later with "Too many cooks spoil the broth". Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA

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  • Geoff Williams

    Yes there is the old adage that "Too many cooks spoil the broth". Much depends on what they bring to the table. Obviously, the protection against fire will be the prelude to any forthcoming design. I do hope that the electrical wiring is given due consideration and a higher profile. Naturally, cables that will not burn, generate smoke and toxic fumes is imperative. Whilst, providing security of the electrical supply to essential services. The proven MICC fireproof system would be vital and should be given a serious aspect.

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  • As Capcom on Apollo XIII said, “I believe this could be our finest moment.” The Grenfell tower is in one of the best areas in one of best cities in the world, but many problems, over many years have been swept under a carpet. It is home to some of the greatest, rich and poor people from all over the world, including Britain. But as usual it is the innocent who have perished in the worst possible way, and that will never be forgotten.

    It is important that the building trades and professional regeneration reflects that community in the colour of their faces, of whatever gender, and religion or none. But more than the fire and escape regulations need to be examined. The ridiculous drug laws that still criminalises drugs like cannabis, the employment laws that prevent new residents working. The overcrowding at high level, and the safety of cheap electrical products. The class and economic system that prevents money getting to where it is desperately needed and perhaps inefficiently spent. Hopefully the Public Enquiry will examine all these avenues.

    Owen is ludercrously right, and wrong! You can’t have too many cooks, as long as they are kicking in the same direction, for the right reasons. And Notting Dale is home to some great sporting, musical, and even design talent. We will win the World Cup if we’re allowed to go. One in your eye, Poo Tin Tin?! As one of the English bricklayers said, perhaps not approvingly, on a site I worked on in the noughties, “Welcome to the Marylebone Road, it’s like the bleeding United Nation ‘ere, and it used to be us and the Irish!” Immigrants have always been the saviours of our building industry, since the French architects that designed and built our Cathedrals in the 13th century, the Irish navvies that built the Frenchman Brunel’s GWR and the first tunnel under the Thames, to the hardy and beautiful Eastern European CAD technicians of this century. And don’t forget all those Building Inspecters from the Indian sub continent?

    Ha way Adjaye! And the AJ?

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