Living now, respecting then

Friday 07 Aug 2009

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 thefunctional 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 thesite 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 retainedso as not to compromise the existing mature Plane Tree, which provides an identity to the site from within.

A respectful and subtle transitionbetween the heights of the buildings in the conservation area and the height of the recently approveddevelopments opposite has been created in the design. A simple palette of brick, render and timber isproposed, 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 ofGeorgian and early Victorian buildings - are reflected within the proposed development and bind the threevillas together.

Along Greenwich High Road, the uppermost storeys are set back behind a parapet, reflecting the adjoiningbuildings. 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, diningrooms 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 renderedbanding, serve so as to create an overall appearance that bridges the transition between the contemporarybuildings to the west and the historic buildings of the Ashburnham Triangle, in a way that the existingbuildings on the site fail to do.

The project will be constructed and managed by Cathedral Group.

Key Facts:

United Kingdom

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