‘They added an extraordinary amount of value without diminishing the design at all – with a good heart and sensitivity.’ This was the judges’ enthusiastic verdict on the winner of this year’s Executive Architect of the Year category: Design Delivery Unit, part of Scott Brownrigg
DDU was the clear winner for its delivery of Squire & Partners’ redevelopment of a historic gasholder site by Battersea Power Station. The housing scheme was backed by St William, a joint venture between Berkeley Homes and the National Grid, which will redevelop gas stations across London. DDU was appointed to optimise the consented scheme while safeguarding the original design – and it was set the additional challenge of helping to bridge the scheme’s funding gap.
It identified some intelligent wins – for example, working within the same envelope and massing, but reconfiguring the apartment layouts to add one additional unit per floor. This resulted in a further 116 apartments across the development. By making the plant and services rooms and structures more efficient it was also able to add an additional storey to the taller blocks.
DDU reorganised the basement footprint and further enhanced the scheme by reusing one of the gasholder structures to form an additional basement level, which will house a 1,500m2 commercial gym and residents’ pool and spa area, none of which existed in the consented scheme.
The firm thinks in terms of creative partnerships, while formal feedback systems ensure learnings are captured. Said the judges: ‘DDU is not precious; it is extremely professional and it has the mindset to succeed. It works well with both architects and clients. It applies design skills to make the project better. Its confidence comes across and it recognises its value.’
- Veretec (part of Aukett Swanke Group)
- Renato Benedetti, founder, Benedetti Architects
- Clare Goggin, partner, Jackson Coles
- Adam Hall, managing director, Falconer Chester Hall
- Henry McKeown, design director, jmarchitects
- Emily Booth, editor, The Architects’ Journal