Once known as “the Piccadilly of south London”, Elephant and Castlesuffered huge damage during the Second World War. The new buildings that went up in the 1960s were often of poor quality, and huge structures such as the shopping centre, the Heygate Estate and the Northern Roundabout created a place that found it hard to adapt and grow. The masterplan for the redevelopment of the Heygate Estate, commissioned by Southwark Council and managed by Lend Lease, aims to restore this area to former glory as a thriving, desirable place to live and visit.
dRMM’s strength has been our ability to reflect on the bigger picture, discovering through local consultation what residents want and, through massing studies, what fits best within the site’s context. Steering away from the alienating size of Heygate, we have sought to provide variety through scale, with a mixture of mini-towers, apartment blocks and town houses. Each apartment has been designed from the inside out, maximising light and space, and all have either a garden, balcony or roof terrace.
Working in close collaboration with landscape architects, Grant Associates, we have improved public spaces, with a woodland walk, new thoroughfares and an attractive new central square, which serves as a central community space and covers a subterranean car park beneath. Our commitment to environmentally aware and responsible building is further demonstrated by the construction of two buildings made from cross-laminated timber, a first for developers Lend Lease.
As London seeks to cope with its chronic housing shortage and improve inner-city living, we believe that quality of life and an awareness of the effects of the built environment at a local and global level should be paramount.
Visualisations © Cityscape
Photos © Alex de Rijke, Daniel Romero