In 2000, a competition was organized to transform a post war housing area in East London notorious for its poorly defined public spaces into an active urban setting. The total project combines 211 housing units of mixed tenure, with additional social infrastructure necessary to intensify this part of the East London borough of Tower Hamlets.

The subsequent urban framework for three mixed-use buildings seeks to create a new and clear urban fabric that adds to the urban context in the form of a community center and retail units along a busy pedestrian link to the DLR station. A key challenge in inner city living is how one can provide the necessary amenity spaces for large families within a secure domestic setting. In an area under transformation accommodating change is necessary in order to sustain an active urban setting.

Our design proposal for Block 3 is a new interpretation of the terrace house typology. Our proposal pulls in all the traditional forms of amenity, public space, car parking, and private gardens into one building envelope, in a form that covers the extent of the site boundaries. By locating the car, garden, stairs, and bathrooms in strategic locations, the house can be reorganized to accommodate different uses.

Firstly, the different types of outdoor space create a potential to divide the house up into apartments or to separate the ground floor from the upper floors. Secondly, strips of accommodation on the front and back of the upper floors also allow for them to be adapted as living rooms, work spaces or bedrooms.

Location: London, UK
Year: 2003
Status: Completed 2008
Competition: First Prize
Site: 0.2 ha
Program: 21 apartments and 10 houses in mixed tenure, 150 m2 commercial space
Client: Toynbee Housing Association and Galliford Try Partnerships
Associates: Stock Woolstencroft
Building costs: Euro 10,350,000