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Common Ground Architecture wins go-ahead for nine-home Croydon scheme


Common Ground Architecture, the former in-house architect team at Croydon Council, has won approval for a nine-home scheme in the town’s Coombe Road

Last year the local authority architects, based within the council’s arms-length development company Brick by Brick, launched as a standalone commercial practice (see AJ 14.11.17).

The latest scheme, which features an eight-flat mansion block and a detached house, is the third designed by Common Ground Architecture in Croydon. 

Backed by Brick by Brick, the home will sit next to the Grade II-listed Ruskin House on a ’constrained site left empty for a generation due to Second World War bomb damage’.

Construction is set to begin in January 2019 and complete in early 2020.

Architect’s view

Understanding the character and heritage value of Ruskin House has been critical to the design process of this scheme. The location of the mansion block on the corner of the site responds to the four-storey 1930s mansion block on the opposite corner. The footprint of the building has been honed to create glimpses towards Ruskin House through the creation of garden entrances and paths and shaping of the roof form. Closer to Ruskin House, the mansion block steps back from the street, unfolding its elevation. The three-bedroom house creates a more intimate scale between the mansion block and Ruskin House, emphasising it as the most important building on the street. This move also creates a small a public space fronting onto Coombe Road.

Considerable care has been given to the design to make sure that the proposal is subservient to Ruskin House. The buildings sit lower than the roofline of Ruskin House with accommodation provided within the roof form to minimise the height of both the mansion block and the house. A buff-coloured heritage-style brick complements the red and brown bricks of Ruskin House while its reclaimed appearance allows the building to fit timelessly into its context. The warm tones of the metal roof reflect the pink and brown highlights to some of the bricks while providing a crisp and contemporary finish to the roofline.

0006 coombe road design principles

0006 coombe road design principles

Project data

Location Coombe Road, Croydon
Type of project Residential
Client Brick by Brick Croydon
Architect Common Ground Architecture
Planning consultant Carter Jonas
Structural engineer AKS Ward
M&E consultant Desco
Quantity surveyor Ian Sayer & Co
CDM adviser Faithful & Gould
Visuals Gabriel Spera
Main contractor TBC
Tender date Autumn 2018
Start on site January 2019
Completion January 2020
Contract duration 12 months
Form of contract Design and Build


Readers' comments (2)

  • It looks as if the loft accommodation was an afterthought, created by bashing out the roof form from inside. Presumably the obvious answer on this site of building three rather than four storeys of accommodation was deemed uneconomic, but then how on earth does the cost of leaving a substantial bomb site 'fallow' since WW2 add up?

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  • Mr Pevsner

    Bland, banal and clearly a problem with scale. The analytical diagrams confuse further. Where is the clarity?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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