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case study


At the adjacent No 58, the internal layouts of the two flats were carefully reconfigured and converted into residential dwellings. Meanwhile, the construction of the Passivhaus buildings (A,B,C 54 Akerman Road) completed the bomb-damaged terrace and provided three new-build large four-bed family houses. The development team also retained the green space located at the back of the former hostel and divided it into private gardens for two of the flats, while the green space within the bomb-damaged infill site provided gardens for the new build homes.


“All that science was put into the retrofit in the same manner that it was used for the new build homes”


Fabric first


Main image: The two hostel buildings (56-58 Akerman Road) sit adjacent to the new builds © Paul Samuel White


Above: The three new houses completed the bomb-damaged Victorian terrace © Lambeth Borough Council


both properties. An additional challenge was the fact that No 56 is a heritage listed building – it had been the former residence of Victorian-era entertainer Dan Leno between 1898-1901 and has a blue plaque on its front elevation. Despite these constraints, the council was committed to delivering its key objectives – creating sustainable, affordable homes that would require little maintenance in the future while also addressing issues such as fuel poverty.


Planning


Lambeth’s planning committee was first presented with the scheme in May 2011, but planners deferred it for design improvements to ensure the development would better relate to the neighbouring properties. The amended designs, presented to the committee in November the same year, included two-storey bay windows created to replicate those on the neighbouring terrace, and to retain the rhythm and consistency of the streetscape. Beyond those relatively simple design tweaks, the scheme had to


adhere to the council’s sustainability criteria, which the team worked towards addressing by specifying Passivhaus new builds and the highly- insulated hostel conversion. This process delayed the commencement of the project, which did not begin on site until 2015, despite the fact it had been granted planning approval in 2012.


On site


To support the Lambeth Development Team, contractor Sandwood Design and Build (SDB) was appointed in June 2015, with architects Anne Thorne and Prewett Bizley novated to the contractor. The experience of the architects and contractor was key: Anne Thorne had worked with SDB on other social housing schemes, including Hawthorn Road – a retrofit of two maisonettes in Haringey, in which, similarly to the Akerman Road project, the two firms refurbished the buildings to standards close to Passivhaus. In Lambeth, the contractor converted the 11 bedsits within the blue plaque No 56 building into four highly-insulated self-contained flats (two three-bed, one two-bed, and one one-bed). The development team also created key facilities missing from the former bedsits by utilising kitchens and bathrooms for each home. There was also the addition of a two-storey rearside extension that allowed the developers to better accommodate the flats.


Lambeth’s decision to opt for two practices experienced in delivering low energy schemes was vital for the low carbon and low embodied energy materials specified in the scheme. In the new builds, the walls were made of timber and filled with recycled newspaper and natural sheep wool insulation. Similarly, the insulation used in the retrofit homes was a type of wood fibre that stores carbon in the fabric, but is also breathable, thus preventing problems such as overheating, condensation or damp. Jones explained, “We used materials that were – wherever possible – sensitive to the environment and the fabric of the building – this decision was down to the architects, but we [Lambeth Council] also supported the low energy design and the material use.” He stressed that the hostel conversion was engineered via the same


software used for the new build Passivhaus buildings – PHPP (Passivhaus Planning Package) – which meant the team could carry out complex assessments regarding thermal modelling and thermal comfort and cold bridging. “All that science was put into the retrofit in the same manner that it was used for the new build homes,” said Jones. The hostel, which was last refurbished in the late 1970s, was described


as “generally habitable” by Huw, who added, “The hostel was occupied, so we had to ensure it was safe and suitable by undertaking checks each year. But we had what we call significant asset liabilities – there was a lot of work to be done.” One area that caused delays to the project was the repair of an extensive part of the brickwork – an issue that became apparent only after the internal linings had been stripped. Once completed in August 2016, the scheme was a success not only for


Gardens were created at the back of the hostel and the new houses © Lambeth Borough Council


www.housingmmonline.co.uk | HMM March 2017 | 25


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