A terrace of 7no. two-storey townhouses forms the southern side of Morpeth Road, with larger buildings at the eastern end where longer gardens permit, around a community yard opposite Lauriston School.
The yard buildings contain 5no. one-bed apartments, one of which is fully accessible, the other 4no. raised up off street level over 3no. community workshops.
The project embraces the mature, green Gore Road gardens allowing views through from Morpeth Road as ‘garden gaps’ in the streetscape. We include a variety of garden spaces, ranging from allotments and a playground to private gardens for the townhouses, and balconies and roof terraces for the apartments.
Peabody is a London-based charitable housing trust with a long and distinguished history of good quality and innovative affordable housing. This site in Morpeth Road, close to Victoria Park in Hackney is long and very thin (only around 6m deep). The brief was for 6no. two-bed houses and 4no. one-bed apartments. We challenged this brief with the inclusion of 3no. community workshops/ retail spaces, a range of hard and soft public spaces and one additional house.
We make buildings that people want to live in, that make them feel good. They last a long time and are loose-fit to accommodate changes in social patterns. We prefer materials that can be re-used if necessary, and don’t deplete the world’s resources. Energy from the sun and natural ventilation is captured in flipped-up bathroom roofs, high level windows, photovoltaic panels and solar panels. Maximum natural light is gained from windows on all facades where possible. The project will conform to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4. All apartments and houses will conform to LTH standards, and incorporate flexibility within their structural design.
The building typology learns from a typical terraced street but turns the houses on their side, keeping what works and adjusting the principles to make the most of the site. We challenge typical use-classes for community use, believing instead that a little flexibility encourages a diverse, inquisitive and successful society. Many of our previous projects explore this excitingly grey terrain.
We believe that the public realm is as important to a happy society as the buildings that frame it, and have thought carefully about the relationship between the two, making observed streets, shared communal areas, quiet gardens and flexible homes to accommodate diverse ways of living.
Allotments and community workshop spaces encourage neighbourly participation; we’d like to see non-use-specific ground floor Yard units available for rent for varying periods, encouraging business start-ups and community spirit.
A fantastic place to wait for the school bell, to see what’s new and to help out your neighbours.
Peabody Website: www.peabody.org.uk
Images by Studio Sam Causer and Geraldine Dening