Bacton Estate

Karakusevic Carson Architects

Camden Council

The London Borough of Camden

Units and density: 
293 homes, 155 dph, GIA 32,000m²

46% affordable, 54% private sale

Phase 1 completed 2015
Phase 2 in detailed design stage

Part of winning submission for 'Housing Architect of the Year Award 2013'
Shortlisted Housing Design Award 2014
Shortlisted New London Award 2014

The first major project for the London Borough of Camden where they have retained management control throughout all of the design and delivery phases, aided by a proactive resident steering group determined to drive real change forward and improve their community. A passionate and well organised residents’ group with a really focused Local Authority regeneration team has created a dynamic partnership committed to delivering neighbourhood transformation and high-quality new homes over a 5-6 year phased delivery programme.

Karakusevic Carson Architects
Karakusevic Carson Architects
Karakusevic Carson Architects

The proposals seek to rectify the mistakes of the past and re-connect the neighbourhood with the surrounding area. The new pedestrianised street opens up views to the Grade 1 Listed Church and establishes a new public space for the local residents and wider community. This helps to forge a new connection through the core of the development to the neighbouring estates whilst marking St Martin’s church as a key focal point.

The residents requested generally low rise housing and homes with new streets to replace the deck access. This could have led to an un-ambitious, lowest common factor scheme, but the Camden Regeneration Team and residents were ambitious and agreed to the initial ideas of a network of new streets and medium density family housing at 3-5 storeys combined with taller accents on key streets and places.

Communal and private entrances at street level encourage activity within the public realm and a clear hierarchy of routes is achieved through the scale of the buildings. Rooftop amenity space, recessed and outboard balconies ensure open spaces at every level of the development.

The perimeter blocks look down upon beautifully landscaped gardens and play spaces which are shared by all residents. There is a considered balance between public, semi-private and private space across the development which helps foster interaction whilst providing privacy and helping the residents to take ownership and responsibility for amenity space.

Our design strategy utilises the street edges and maximises the site opportunities.  Communal and private entrances at street level encourage activity within the public realm. The roof of the blocks are varied in use & profile. It was a clear concern for the local residents that the original Bacton Estate was not replaced with buildings of a similar architectural language. Noise was also a critical issue behind the strategy creating a buffer along the railway which will protect the internal spaces from the noise and vibration created by the train line.

The site deals with major constraints and de-canting issues, to the north is the Euston-North West high speed line so acoustics and environmental health issues are a major constraint on the first phase decant site. We are using CLT solid timber as the structural frame to achieve enhanced liveability and achieve close to Passive House standards of building fabric on a normal budget. The solid timber also assists in providing acoustic measures to minimise the disturbance of the railway line.

Karakusevic Carson Architects

Our scheme is a contextual and modern expression of an urban family life with front gardens, communal squares, high quality brickwork and generous windows connecting into the wider Gospel Oak and Kentish Town area. There is a large amount of family housing arranged as town houses, maisonettes, all with front doors opening onto the new street network. From the feasibility stage the design team focused on achieving a higher density and delivering high quality spacious homes for the area whilst providing a suitable scale and ensuring the development responded well to the surrounding context. By utilizing the street edges and maximizing the site opportunities the team found a varied approach was the most suitable. This culminated in a scale of 3, 4 & 5 storeys across the development whilst providing taller accents of 7 + storeys on the corners where the site is less constrained.

The proposal contains a large range of home types and sizes ranging from 1 bedroom apartments through to 4 & 5 bedroom homes and family maisonettes. The scheme has been designed to be completely tenure blind with the tenures distributed across the neighbourhood, and blended in each phase and street scene. This has been achieved on a core by core basis and will help cross subsidise the affordable homes. The regeneration is near to cost neutral, the programme of medium density housing will provide cross subsidy market sale housing to help deliver the social rented and additional shared ownership housing at minimum cost to the council and the HCA.

Karakusevic Carson and Camden also presented a large and varied number of material samples from an early stage in the design process. This was imperative to help the residents visualize the proposals. 

Material consultation continued past the planning stage with regular meetings with the TRA and Camden’s maintenance team to review all architectural specifications and identify suitable high quality and robust materials sufficient to withstand residential wear and tear. This extended to arranging factory and showroom visits for the TRA during detailed design to allow the residents to see the materials in situ.

Seven full consultation events took place prior to submission of the planning application with the local community. These were all well attended and addressed a large number of the existing residents, freeholders and local community. The design team has met with the TRA on over 50 occasions in the past three years to discuss every aspect of the scheme, often joined by local councillors and the local MP Frank Dobson.

Karakusevic Carson Architects
Karakusevic Carson Architects
Karakusevic Carson Architects
Karakusevic Carson Architects
Karakusevic Carson Architects
Karakusevic Carson Architects
Karakusevic Carson Architects

Design Team

Architects: Karakusevic Carson Architects

Landscape and Public Realm: Camlins

Planning: Quod

Engineering: Rolton

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