Not so much neo classical but neo historical
Ashburnham 3 is a set of three modern ‘villas’ set within the classical surrounds of Greenwich High Road in London. The pre-construction student residence is a fusion of the recognisably historic with a building that meets the
functional needs of today and tomorrow. In meeting this achievement successfully, at least on paper, the project has recently been awarded a 2009 Housing Design Award.
Two different elements are arranged around the northern and eastern edges of the
site to form a courtyard. Encouraging biodiversity and giving students green space, some of the original planting in the space is retained and a green roof is added. The footprint of the new building reflects that of the existing and has been retained
so as not to compromise the existing mature Plane Tree, which provides an identity to the site from within.
A respectful and subtle transition
between the heights of the buildings in the conservation area and the height of the recently approved
developments opposite has been created in the design. A simple palette of brick, render and timber is
proposed, reflecting the surrounding buildings. The villa forms, containing the shared kitchen/dining rooms feature larger window openings; their proportions reflecting those of the surrounding buildings. Rendered frames project to emphasise these principal, public,
rooms within each flat. The stone banding separating the floors of the adjoining buildings - characteristic of
Georgian and early Victorian buildings - are reflected within the proposed development and bind the three
Along Greenwich High Road, the uppermost storeys are set back behind a parapet, reflecting the adjoining
buildings. The North Eastern and South Western elevations, fronting Miller House and the private courtyard,
take on a simple appearance, reflecting the hierarchy of this more private aspect. Whilst the kitchen, dining
rooms and staircases project from the facade, no projecting ‘bay’ windows are proposed here.
The simple palette of materials, use of visual themes such as the outward expression of uses and rendered
banding, serve so as to create an overall appearance that bridges the transition between the contemporary
buildings to the west and the historic buildings of the Ashburnham Triangle, in a way that the existing
buildings on the site fail to do.
The project will be constructed and managed by Cathedral Group.