Peabody Small Projects Competition

Palmer Garages, St. John's Grove, London, N19

For the Peabody Small Projects Competition, the site context and orientation has helped shaped our proposal. The pleasant tree lined south facing aspect on to St. John’s Grove typified by the three storeys Victorian semi-detached town houses provides a focal point for the development reinforced by the slightly tapering site. To the east, the four storey Peabody flats flank the site; to the west, a slightly elevated and imposing St. John’s Tavern fronts on to Junction Road with a gabled rear out-building parallel to the site.

To respect the lower gabled building and natural daylight to the flank windows of the flats a three storey massing is felt achievable subject to detailed analysis. To allow generous floor to ceiling heights it is proposed to lower the grade level of the site to match the garden level to the flats, this also helps lessen the visual impact of the building which will help integrate the building within the historic context, an important consideration for the planning process.

The building is split into two volumes and slightly opened up to the southern aspect allowing natural daylight to penetrate into the core of the building as well as providing south facing balconies for six of the units and a communal roof top terrace. The staggering of the blocks allows for the retention of the existing tree to the front and provides westerly aspects to the two flat to the rear. The creation of high quality private balconies, communal outdoor spaces and circulation area is important to imbue a collective ethos for the tenants providing a platform for self-improvement and community for the residents.

The flats are designed to be Life Time Homes compliant with ramped access from St. John’s Grove, disabled parking to Brookside Road also servicing refuse, recycling and cycle storage. A lift core is provided allowing disabled access to all levels.

A simple modular design will allow either a unitised prefabricated or timber cross-laminated structure to be considered. This type of construction may lead to both cost and time savings on site, improve quality and sustainability.

The emphasis on the southerly aspect allows for passive solar heating and positioning of PV cells to the roof to provide renewable energy for each of the flats. A green roof is proposed to increase rain water attenuation and biodiversity for the site. Rainwater and grey water harvesting can be considered. It is envisaged a Level 5 for the Code for Sustainable Homes could be realistically achieved.