A cohesive new community in east London, which combines high quality new homes, a new health centre and integrated landscape in a semi-industrial context.
Sutherland Road is a new community in Walthamstow, east London, previously occupied by semi-derelict industrial buildings. Following the residential-led redevelopment of other nearby sites, there was an opportunity for this plot to continue the ongoing regeneration of the area and better serve existing local residents.
We were invited to work on the scheme by East Thames Housing Group, having previously worked with them to create Papermill Place, a large, successful affordable housing development directly over the road. This time, the client wanted a mixture of affordable housing tenures, space for a group of local doctors who wanted to set up a new practice, and a high quality landscape to tie these elements together.
The challenge was to create a new, mixed-tenure development that could work with contrasting boundary conditions: muscular enough to be located in a light industrial context, but sensitive enough to sit comfortably with the smaller houses behind. In addition, the design had to provide a sense of place, and create an identity for an entirely new neighbourhood.
Designed as a cohesive whole, the scheme provides 59 new affordable homes, a health centre, a shared communal garden and integrated landscape throughout.
The scheme takes the form of a courtyard, with larger, five or six storey buildings facing the street, falling to smaller, two storey mews houses at the rear. This change in scale is designed to mediate between the domestic and industrial context, whilst also creating different identities for each housing type. Accommodation within the roofscape is maximised throughout the development, in order to keep the scale as low as possible, while each home is dual aspect, to fill the living spaces with light.
The aesthetic of the scheme takes its cue from the industrial setting, and is robust, simple and bold. The larger elevation is wrapped in brick, with regular holes punched through to give views of the courtyard, whilst the distinctive, saw-toothed roof helps creates a sense of individuality. In contrast, the mews houses are a more traditional form, with steeply pitched roofs to reinforce the module of individual dwellings. This is offset by the chosen material, however: striking red corrugated metal cladding, again playing on the surrounding industrial context, and giving these houses a strong identity.
The health centre shares the aesthetic of the buildings facing the street. Again, the roof space is in use, as a vast double height space over the waiting area, and to provide space for a library, staff room and meeting rooms on the upper floor. A picture window provides a view for patients out over the inner landscape.
The landscape plays a crucial role in unifying the scheme. The red façade of the mews homes spreads through the central courtyard space through the use of innovative recycled glass paving panels and autumnal-coloured planting. A variety of environments are provided for residents, from formal grass, to informal seating, and children’s play areas. Finally, the parking areas use the same material as the pedestrian core, and are only separated by a line of trees: this helps the landscape to be read as a single space, and makes it easier for residents to close off the parking areas for social uses.
Sutherland Road has utilised all of our design disciplines to create characterful high-density homes, integrated healthcare provision, and generous semi-public spaces, for residents and non-residents alike.