design developed and extended through to detailed decisions such as brick colour, window sizes and proportion and so on.”


As part of providing this level of personali- sation, a formal housing needs assessment was conducted during the neighbourhood planning phase back in 2014. This identi- fied households in the estate who were either overcrowded or under-occupied, and subsequently prioritised them for the new homes.

In order to incentivise downsizing, prospective residents were given the oppor- tunity to customise their own flats, as Phillips explained: “The residents were identified at an early stage of the design process. This put the architects in the unusual position of having the opportunity to discuss both the overall design of the building and more detailed aspects of their flats with the residents, giving them a greater voice in the design process. “As the detailed design of the flats progressed, a brochure was put together which was given to each household from which they could select alternative options to customise their own homes,” Phillips added. Options included paint colours, tiling colours to kitchens and bathrooms, floor finishes and colours, kitchen unit and countertop finishes, and open plan, semi- open plan or cellular kitchens. With every aspect of the building being discussed with the residents, the existing community was brought together and strengthened. This ensured that residents would already know their neighbours, even before they moved in.


FROM THE OUTSIDE As to the project’s eventual shape, the building’s height and massing was intended to “repair a fragmented urban grain,” result- ing from wartime bomb damage and the subsequent postwar development which sat at odds with the historic nature of the Bermondsey Street Conservation Area. The height also had to respond accordingly with the residents’ intention that it should not be too tall, and should also allow good daylight levels to the adjacent communal garden. The project comprises three elements,

two blocks with sloping roofs of seven and five storeys, connected by a three-storey portion with a communal roof terrace above. This arrangement forms an L- shaped wedge that extends across the existing street frontage, embracing commu- nal open space to the rear. Phillips explained further: “The highest element of the building sits adjoins the gable end of the adjacent housing block where the new building would have least impact on neighbouring properties. Flats in this new block benefit from views in two directions across surrounding public space. “A lower block then extends along the

street, reinstating the historic street frontage and providing an active elevation. The roof of this lower block accommodates a communal roof terrace that provides fantastic panoramic views to the surround- ing area. This lower block enables daylight to penetrate into the existing communal garden and reduces the impact on daylight to surrounding flats. The building then steps up in height at the southern end.” In order to ensure the development

would feel like an integral part of the exist-

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