This block of 26 affordable apartments on the Clapton Park Estate, designed for the London Borough of Hackney, received planning permission in February 2018.
Ash Sakula won the project in an open design competition exceeding the requirements of a brief that originally asked for a smaller building of 16 apartments.
A combination of social rent and shared-ownership, the building replaces a redundant boiler house. It was developed in close consultation with neighbours, local residents and the general public.
As the building is to form the head of a small public square, we composed a carefully nuanced elevation that will lend a much-needed civic presence to this busy street corner.
Facing the square, the building rises to eight storeys, close to the height of the existing building on the other side of the square, while the lower part drops to three storeys to align with a neighbouring block.
We designed the building to make a dignified addition to the local townscape by drawing on a palette of simple materials that includes brick, large aluminium-faced timber windows and balconies with corrugated concrete surfaces and canted railings that reference the mid-century designs of adjoining buildings.
Entrances are generous, marked by projecting canopies. Doors to plant rooms and bin stores are particular rather than generic: sturdy green-painted timber doors grooved vertically.
One of the cycle stores is an open yard enclosed by a bespoke aluminium and timber screen. To either side of a central tree are cycle racks under lean-to roofs.
There are 26 homes ranging in size from 1 to 3 bed, and including 3 homes adaptable for wheelchair use. Half are for social rent, half shared ownership. The top two floors of the block are occupied by 4 duplex units.
We consulted all through the early design stages of the project with neighbours and local residents from the Clapton Park estate, the cohort from which the new residents of the building will come.
All homes are dual aspect and have either a projecting balcony or an embedded loggia, creating an airy outdoor room that is simultaneously sheltered and open to the air.
The design of ground floor homes uses planting and railings to carefully mediate the proximity of domestic space to the street corner.
The block’s common areas are generously sized and light-filled, and are configured to promote path-crossing and interaction between residents.
On the south side of the block is a communal garden designed after extensive public consultation. Our design creates a playable landscape in the limited available space. It is easily accessible from the two lift and stair cores.
Opening onto the garden is a residents’ garden workshop and loggia, providing tool storage and a place to propagate seedlings, and helping promote a convivial gardening culture.
On the street elevations, a low plinth with integrated planter wraps the base of the building providing defensible space to ground floor units.
Architect: Ash Sakula
Structural and transport: Civic Engineers
M & E: Couch Perry Wilkes
Project Manager and QS: Potter Raper
Planning Consultant: CMA
Client: London Borough of Hackney
Planning approved: February 2018
100% affordable (13 social rent, 13 shared-ownership homes)
3 apartments are wheelchair adaptable
A central boiler unit serves all flats.
All apartments have mechanical ventilation and heat recovery, MVHR.
Roof-mounted photovoltaic panels make a useful contribution to electrical requirements and sustainability targets.
There is no car parking on site.
Secure cycle storage is provided in two ground-floor stores, one within the block, the other in the form of an open yard with covered cycle storage.