Appearance is characterised by a ziggurat form which articulates the massing
RIBA National Award winner 2021
RIBA London Regional Award winner 2021
Peter Barber Architects for Kuropatwa
Contract value: undisclosed
This housing project is an imaginative re-interpretation of the mansion block typology, livening up an otherwise nondescript Peckham road. It creates 33 low-cost apartments, with a courtyard behind. There is direct access from the street and courtyard to the lower apartments, alongside two access cores for the flats, each serving three apartments at every level.
It is not possible to pass the new block without smiling. The building is the work of an architect versed in designing successful housing, but with a sense of humour thrown into the mix. The design is dramatic, with a facade of different planes, with windows not necessarily following any order; and to the rear, long, cantilevered, brick-clad balconies – even to the undersides. Even if these features are perhaps exaggerated, it’s hard not to be inspired by their overall theatricality.
Paved with cobbles and interspersed with soft landscaping in the form of trees in large containers, the courtyard is a coup. It somehow contrives to be peaceful, a place you want to spend time in and be with friends and neighbours, and will no doubt be developed further as residents customise their front entrances with potted plants. The partially residential north wing includes a sort of folly pretending to be a housing unit, yet another playful design element that is intriguing, then joyful.
Interiors are well designed; they feel like home, with even single-aspect units successful because their balconies create the illusion of being double-aspect. With interest in every corner of the plot, the lively block makes a very positive contribution to the urban realm.