Maccreanor Lavington have completed a compact urban development in the London Borough of Southwark. The design explores community living within the context of a mansion block of compact affordable homes. A strategy was developed where the practice collected together the amenity space in a series of rooms and terraces that are distributed throughout the building, encouraging residents to socialise outside of their apartments in generous communal spaces.
As you approach the building you are met by a bright and engaging entrance lobby with an open stair that leads you to a small terrace on the first floor. On the floor above a double height co-working space provides facilities to residents to work outside their flats. Above this a double height sunroom offers a shared living room where people can relax, host events and take part in yoga classes. Large high-level windows and glazed screens in both of these spaces bring daylight into the adjacent corridors at every level, allowing the spaces to be seen from the residential corridors and encouraging a sense of community. A pair of large landscaped roof terraces with fixed tables and chairs are located on the sixth and seventh floors with panoramic views across the city. The south-facing terrace on the top floor and the West facing sunroom are orientated to catch the evening sun.
The building in Varcoe Road is the first in the borough for developer Pocket Living, who’s aim is to achieve affordable home ownership in the capital for first time entrants to the housing market. It provides 57 compact affordable homes spread over seven floors. Each Pocket flat is cleverly designed to maximise the feeling of openness and comfort and to provide a functional and attractive first time home.
The projects brick architecture is articulated into two volumes of differing heights suggesting a rhythm of multiple buildings along the street. Both volumes have generous fenestration in the form of full height windows and Juliet balconies to both living and bedrooms.
Pocket Living’s Development Manager Alex Shillito comments: “Creating a vibrant community within a particularly challenging site, Maccreanor Lavington designed a multitude of thought-through shared spaces which provide real purpose and will be embraced by residents”.
Maccreanor Lavington’s Associate Director, Gavin Finnan comments: “Instead of adopting the standard approach of providing individual balconies to every apartment we decided to create a series of generous and useful communal spaces which were tailored specifically to the buildings predominantly young individual occupants. Varcoe Road has allowed us to explore how the provision of amenity space can help harbour a sense of community”.