Repairing broken edges
The removal of temporary buildings had left two vacant sites at the edge of North Peckham Estate, separating it from Commercial Way. Two water towers, local landmarks, remained as fragments of the original buildings. We began by learning from the existing residents about what it was like to live there, how the Estate had changed and how things could be improved. Our challenge was to create a real sense of place and identity in an anonymous and neglected urban environment. The new buildings had a job to do in repairing broken edges and restoring the street pattern, but they also needed to belong to the Estate as a whole.
Creating a sense of place
We wanted to extend the ambition of the project beyond the site, and collaborated with Southwark and the local community to improve Commercial Way and make better connections to the Central Venture Park opposite our site.
The key design move that unlocked the potential of the project was to change the alignment of Cronin Street, the road that divided our two sites. We placed the new road on the axis of the park and arranged taller buildings on either side to form a gateway into the estate. The blocks are set back from the pavement to provide a new public space with tree planting along the street. The road junction is raised and a new pedestrian crossing connects this space directly to the park entrance.
Inside the blocks new play and activity areas link to communal gardens so that existing residents can share in the benefits of the project.
To make the new homes affordable to live in we designed them to reduce energy demand, collecting solar power from the roofs and using a District Heating System for hot water and space heating.