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Feilden Clegg Bradley to design long-term replacement for RSHP’s pop-up Lewisham housing

Ladywell existing site
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Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS) has been picked to build a permanent housing development on the plot of RSHP’s PLACE/Ladywell pop-up homes scheme in south London

The practice was appointed by Lewisham Homes, the social housing provider for Lewisham Council, to develop designs for a 200-home project on the former Ladywell Leisure Centre site currently occupied by the temporary, modular RSHP scheme.

The colourful ’pioneering pop-up village’ for homeless families came in for criticism last year after research revealed that residents felt they were ‘on show’ in the prototype demountable development built using off-site manufacturing processes.

The study by Royal Holloway, University of London, which explored residents’ experiences of living at the 24-home block, claimed there had been a lack of attention to what it is like to live in.

It added that some of those living in the scheme had issues with the brightly coloured panels, saying there were reports it made them ’feel stigmatised’.

The four-year-old block is now set to be dismantled and moved to another location in Lewisham.

Source: Lewisham Council

FCBS’s long-term replacement for the homeless accommodation aims to provide ‘50 per cent new social rented council homes’. The architects will be hosting a community workshop event on the site, featuring an interactive site model which can be used by residents and school children to propose their own designs, late this week (27 February).

The practice will be collaborating with local artist Jake Sherwood, who has previously worked with Architects for Social Housing and Open House London while in Central Hill Estate on Gipsy Hill. He said: ’It’s really exciting for me to be part of the consultation process at this early stage, where good engagement – and good art – can have the most impact.

’[Models] have a fantastic ability to help visualise and contextualise what might be built, but also give a critical and creative opportunity for collective discussions during the making of the model that can help to shape later development.’ 

Ladywell jakesherwood  model in progress

FCBS’s Ladywell proposals from 2020 - Jake Sherwood, model in progress


FCBS’s Ladywell proposals from 2020 - Jake Sherwood, model in progress


John McElgunn, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

PLACE Ladywell was originally designed for a ‘meanwhile-use’ site and scheduled to move after the initial deployment. This approach allowed the council to provide high-quality and cost-effective temporary housing on the site whilst considering the long-term development options. We are delighted to learn that Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios will lead the design for the future development of the site. RSHP is currently investigating the relocation of the PLACE system to provide more homes at a different location in the borough.

The ‘lack of attention’ mentioned in the report focused on management issues which included: moving dates, provision of furnished options, storage services and lack of parking. While these are critically important to the user experience, unfortunately these issues fall outside our sphere of influence. I would like to highlight that the report also states that PLACE Ladywell is ’a significant improvement on other forms of emergency accommodation’ and that evidence of best practice should inform future modular developments.

The concept for the colourful panels came from the client who wanted to showcase what could be achieved using modern methods of construction to provide accommodation for homeless families. The external panels are a simple rain screen and can be made of any non-combustible material including cementitious board, brick and aluminium finishes ‒ depending on their proposed location.

The internal quality of the spaces is a testament to how well they are made. High levels of sound insulation minimise neighbour nuisance, and running costs are a fraction of a traditional building. Homes constructed in this way can be delivered to site snag free in 50% of the time of a traditional build.

We are very proud of what has been achieved with Lewisham and we continue to develop a series of proposals using off-site manufacture.

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