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Sceaux Gardens Estate

Location: Camberwell, London
Services: Architectural design services from initial concept through to planning consent with extensive community engagement.

Unusually for a post-war housing Estate including high-rise buildings, Southwark Council’s Sceaux Gardens Estate in Camberwell is a designated conservation area. We sensitively introduced 80 new Council Homes into this pioneering social housing estate dating from the mid-1950’s. We integrated the new homes with the old, maintaining the relationship with the mature landscaped gardens.

Meeting the need for new homes

Balancing the need for new housing with the sensitivities of the conversation area, and the requirements of the existing residents created a real challenge. The quality of the spaces at the edges of the estate connecting to the surrounding area are poor in comparison with the central landscaped garden. The approach from Southampton Way is dominated by communal waste bins left on the street and congested with cars creating a poor environment for pedestrians and blocking access for refuse and emergency vehicles.

Celebrating the original estate

Within the central gardens we designed 58 of the new homes in 4- and 5-storey linear blocks on the footprint of previous Bungalow blocks. This preserves the original formal relationship of buildings to landscape and maintains the balanced composition of low- and high-rise blocks. A new site layout improves access, and especially the connection to the adjacent South London Gallery which has a strong relationship with the estate residents.


Our design takes its inspiration from the well-proportioned and gridded facades of the original buildings and incorporates the green colour palette which residents wanted to preserve. The other 21 homes are provided in a new 7-storey building replacing existing garages and hard-standing creating an improved estate entrance. Extensive landscaping including tree planting and the provision of dedicated enclosures for the existing refuse bins transform the quality of this space for new and existing residents.

Sustainable Design

The energy strategy followed the London Plan hierarchy of ‘Be Lean, Be Clean and Be Green’. Energy demand is reduced through a highly insulated construction with high standards of air-tightness. An energy substation serving all the new buildings has been designed to connect to the SELCHP Energy network being extended to the area. This achieves a 78% reduction in annual CO2 emissions. Additional on-site energy is generated through rooftop Photo-Voltaic panels mounted on the bio-diverse green roofs of the new buildings.

Related Projects

How can we help?

Please get in touch if you’d like to know more about us and how we work with our clients, consultants and colleagues.