Branch Place, Colville Estate

Karakusevic Carson Architects

Hackney Council

The London Borough of Hackney

Units and Density:
209 homes, 177 dph, 760 hrh

54% social rent, 16% intermediate, 30% market sale

Phases 2a+b due for completion 2019

Shortlisted for Housing Design Award 2013
Shortlisted for New London Architecture Award 2013

Based on the principles set out in the Colville Estate Masterplan and Design Code, the second phase of the Colville Estate creates a diverse and sustainable mixed-tenure community which reconnects the estate back into the wider neighbourhood.

The scheme lies near to Shoreditch Park and Regents Canal, bounded by Branch Place to the north, Penn Street to the south, the existing Colville Estate buildings to the east and Bridport Place to the west.  

Karakusevic Carson Architects worked closely with the existing residents throughout the design process to deliver a project which reflected their needs and aspirations. The Colville Estate Tenants and Residents Association (CETRA) were integral to decisions on all aspects of the scheme; from massing and landscape to internal layouts and finishes. Engagement with the local community took the form of a programme of regular meeting, community fun days, exhibitions and workshops, enabling tenants of the wider estate to share their opinions on the scheme.  

Karakusevic Carson Architects
Karakusevic Carson Architects

Branch Place, Colville Estate is comprised of three buildings envisioned as a “family of buildings” designed to balance consistency of urban form with a variety of architectural character between each building. A new neighbourhood street running east-west forms a vital link through the estate, while new pedestrian priority streets run north-south creating new public realm for the community. Well defined street-based buildings with regular front doors enliven the streetscape and promote a sense of safety within the area, while a communal garden at the back of each block creates valuable amenity and playspace.

Articulated roof forms are used to mark strong corners in the townscape while non-residential uses are distinguishable at ground floor level by their distinctive articulation. Commonality between the three buildings is achieved through robust detailing to windows and doors, whilst architectural variety is achieved through a range of rooflines, facades and a varied palette of brickwork and built form.

The copper mansard roof of Building C marks the bridge over the Regent’s Canal and the beginning of the proposed neighbourhood street. Forming a perimeter building with the former estate. It lines Bridport Place with new and existing retail space which has been reprovided on the estate. Townhouses face onto Branch Place, each with a patio garden and a shared garden at the centre of the courtyard.

Building E includes the Energy Centre which will supply a district heat network and a new Community Centre fronting onto Penn Street. Triangular in plan, the building consists of a double height 'plinth' creating a continuous active frontage to the street with two separate building elements and raised courtyard gardens above. 

Building F forms a perimeter building with a raised courtyard garden covering an undercroft car park.  In response to its different edge conditions the massing has been broken down into smaller elements with a varied roofscape which also reflects the industrial heritage of the canal side. Lowering the mass to the south ensures light floods the courtyard space whilst enabling clear views towards the city. The scheme is tenure-blind and crafted from a palette of high-quality brickwork, secure timber entrances and elegant metalwork.

The landscape design by MUF architecture/art is characterised by a holistic and fully integrated approach across the Masterplan. Street planting is designed to underline the hierarchy of the public realm; larger street trees positioned along main routes, smaller species to one side of the neighbourhood street while light, multi-stemmed species are planted in beds along pedestrian Homezone routes. The pedestrian zones offer play and community growing areas, with planting areas adjacent to the front gardens laid out to encourage use by residents. Residents worked closely with the design teams to explore ways of integrating areas for community growing within the public realm.

The use of high-quality paving materials, tree planting based on identified character areas and careful detailing of the amenity spaces emphasises the clearly defined hierarchy of public, private and semi-private open spaces throughout the scheme. 

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

Design Team

Architects: Karakusevic Carson Architects

Landscape/Public Realm: MUF

Planning: Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design

Engineering: Peter Brett Associates

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