Location South Bermondsey, London
Client Westhill Land and Property
Content 34 Residential Units
The proposals for the re-generation & use of Universal House seeks to re-stitch the site into the area’s urban fabric, making a highly efficient and sustainable use of a brownfield urban site.
James Corcoran, Partner, CZWG Architects
The existing office / workshop site comprised of 3 historic buildings all industrial in character. The clients brief for the permitted development change of use was to convert the whole to residential use and unify the 3 buildings through a predominantly interior and courtyard design strategy that was contemporary but also retained the character of the historic buildings. The structural systems of the building were also reinforced prior to conversion to ensure that 2 additional floors could be added as a second development stage at a later date, subject to planning approval.
The buildings had limited street frontage and in certain areas residential outlook and amenity was developed around compact internal courtyards, designed as external rooms. Existing construction materials comprised of a selection of robust finishes imprinted with historic changes, which were to be retained & enhanced. The materials, brick walling, rooflights, metal windows and cementitious dressings in the form of rendered lintels and walls and cast stone cills were all incorporated in the design. The new interiors included additional contemporary finishes, timber, plaster, ferrous metallic (Core-Ten) finishes, clear and sandblasted glass.
Green roofs provided an amenity for the residents and were a positive contribution towards environmental and sustainability principles. An array of photo voltaic panels located on the roof formed a part of the wider sustainability strategy for the development, to achieve Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 (prevailing at that time).
The site is pivotal to the street where it is centrally located and terminates a key view from the east along Argyle Way. The area benefited from a contemporary positive development marker, to help consolidate and anchor a disparate surrounding urban townscape.