Tower Hamlets Community Housing
The London Borough of Tower Hamlets
77 mixed tenure homes, 540 hrh/ GIA 8000m2
50%/50% social rent, market sale & shared ownership
Housing Design Award 2010; Richard Fielden Prize for Best Affordable Housing presented by The Homes and Communities Agency
Evening Standard Award for Best Family Housing 2010
Civic Trust Award 2011
RIBA Award 2011
Karakusevic Carson Architects were appointed at resident ballot stage as masterplanners and Architects by Tower Hamlets Community Housing to work with their Project Managers, Mansford Estate Steering Group, local Residents and local Councilors to deliver their first phase – Claredale Street – a mixed tenure housing scheme on a clearance site between Keeling House and The Mansford Estate.
With over 700 residences the Mansford Estate lies in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, it is comprised of a collection of 1960’s high rise towers and lower rise 4/6 storey blocks with left over and ill-defined public/private spaces and misused walkways. Our clients were aspirational, seeking design excellence for neighbourhood improvement, better streetscape, environmental innovation and future proof housing design. Our clients were firm in their belief that design excellence would ensure financial viability through cross subsidy for the scheme, delivering mixed tenure more successfully and helping to create a more vibrant mixed community. Claredale Street, as one of the first phases of the regeneration programme was to be used as an exemplar, to demonstrate to the wider community THCH’s intent to deliver mixed, balanced, high quality housing and an improved neighbourhood.
The site was previously part of a Denys Lasdun scheme (including the 16 storey Keeling House) built in 1957. The previous 8 storey slab block of Bradley House had left over space and ill-defined public/private relationships, poor quality street scape and impermeability for pedestrians. Yet this part of the Inner city London Estate was immediately surrounded by the successful vibrant Victorian/Edwardian neighbourhoods of Bethnal Green, Jesus Hospital conservation area and Hackney Road, which offered opportunities to re-connect into successful local street patterns, scale and material references .
Overall the scheme provides for 77 new homes of mixed tenure, 40 of which are social rented family homes. These included several for larger families and also new homes for residents over the age of 60 moving from larger Council Homes. The design studies explored the viability of social mix, house type and site density and looked at how these could work with the desire for more public, shared and private space that the previous slab block configuration had failed to provide.
The Claredale Street scheme response sought to humanize the Estate and create a smaller more intimate mini neighbourhood. Conceived as an urban courtyard with inhabited edges, it reinstates the grain of the pre-existing Victorian terraces that characterise the wider area – through height and robust materials. This provides continuity to the street line while allowing variety through the introduction of a range of housing types, public space, shared courtyards and private amenity space at the centre of the scheme. The reinstatement of Teesdale Street with a new pedestrian friendly link, and public space fronted by family houses and maisonettes frames the landscaped courtyards and creates a permeability and transparency across the site.
Affordable family housing at the heart of the scheme is at a similar scale to neighbouring Victorian terraces, the massing of the 6/7 storey private sale apartments were linked by a communal courtyard. The robust detailing and materials selected also referenced the colours of adjacent buildings with careful selection of quality brick, standing seam copper roofing types, window and balcony openings referring to the Victorian proportions.
Designed in close collaboration with the resident steering group, the design took into account a desire from English Heritage to keep Keeling House by Denys Lasdun as a stand-alone building. This was achieved through the placement of the apartment building at the western edge of the site and low rise family housing and maisonettes arranged around a courtyard, and a new pedestrianised street in-between the taller buildings to the East and West.
The resulting scheme has the same level of accommodation as the former building on the site but delivers a very different neighbourhood in terms of tenure mix, housing type, increased and improved public and private realm, provided more green space, opened up streets through the site, provided for courtyards and gardens, met CfSH4 and an improved sense of community for local residents.
Recognised for design excellence & described by the GLA Planning Department as “One of the best examples of estate regeneration”. The project has been exhibited and published widely, as part of the RIBA exhibition ‘Evolving British Housing’ and many other publications.