Proctor & Matthews Architects has said it is ‘naturally disappointed’ after it was replaced on the design and build contract to deliver the first phase of Peabody’s £1.5 billion Thamesmead estate overhaul
The practice worked with Dutch-headquartered Mecanoo on Southmere Village, a 525-home scheme that secured detailed planning consent three years ago.
However, Hertfordshire-based contractor Durkan was awarded a design and build contract for the project and brought in north London-based Fourpoint Architects. The project started on site late last year.
Stephen Proctor, founding director of Proctor & Matthews, told the AJ: ’We are naturally disappointed to no longer be involved on the project.
’While we appreciate decisions are often made for a variety of reasons, we would welcome a wider debate on how the architect can retain a role to ensure the quality of the design and the original design intent is maintained.
’In order to meet the proposed push towards design quality it is crucial to create design continuity from concept to completion and at Proctor & Matthews Architects we are very keen to find ways to achieve this.’
Proposals for Southmere Village drawn up by Proctor & Matthews and Mecanoo included 3,716m² of commercial space. The buildings, centred around a new public square on the banks of Southmere Lake, were mainly clad in brick in response to local residents’ desire for the new structures to contrast with the concrete of the 1960s estate.
Proctor & Matthews also designed a civic building housing a library, nursery and gym to act as a social hub and focal point of the square.
Four planning applications were approved by the London Borough of Bexley in October 2016, paving the way for more than 1,500 new homes and kickstarting the first major development in Thamesmead since Peabody acquired the land in 2014.
The consented applications consisted of detailed plans for the civic-led Southmere Village along with outline plans for three other development areas, known as Binsey Walk, Coralline Walk and Sedgemere Road.
All four sites sit inside the boroughs of Bexley and Greenwich’s Thamesmead Housing Zones and will be served by the new Crossrail station at Abbey Wood.
Durkan managing director Jim Briggs said: ’We’re delighted to be working with Peabody to deliver this exciting new development for the capital. At Durkan, we’re conscious of the need for new homes and living spaces in London and it’s our priority to deliver sustainable communities that help to address this.
’We’re looking forward to helping Peabody deliver on its proposals for Thamesmead, in what will doubtless add long-term value to a growing community.’
Construction work started at Thamesmead, built on top of the Erith and Plumstead Marshes, in the 1960s and was funded by the now-abolished Greater London Council. At the time, it was hailed for its futuristic Modernist and Brutalist design, including elevated walkways. The threat of flooding required all habitable rooms to be built on the first floor. However, over the years the estate has been blighted with problems like anti-social behaviour and vandalism.
The area has a strong cultural history, having been used as a setting for a number of films and television programmes – perhaps most notably for Stanley Kubrick’s film, A Clockwork Orange.