Claredale Street Housing in Bethnal Green, London Print
Friday, 14 January 2011 07:38

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Claredale Street Housing, Karakusevic Carson Architects’ latest project in Bethnal Green, East London for Tower Hamlets Community Housing is now complete and has been awarded the Richard Feilden Award in the 2010 HCA Housing Design Awards.

The project is the first phase of the regeneration of the Mansford Estates and Peachey Edwards, providing 77 homes (40 of which are family homes) in an estate of over 700 residences in a deprived area of Tower Hamlets, East London.

The Estates are characterised by 1960s high-rise towers and lower-rise 5/8 storey blocks interspersed by ill-defined spaces and walkways open to misuse. Claredale Street Housing replaces Bradley House, a medium-rise 8-storey Brutalist block, introducing high quality mixed-tenure housing and greater permeability into the estate. Bradley House was part of a cluster block scheme designed by Denis Lasdun in 1957. One aspect of that scheme – the Grade II listed 16-storey tower Keeling House - has been retained following a radical renovation in 2001 and defines the eastern boundary of the site.
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Edited by Lynda Waggoner


The need to establish a coherent and vibrant urban design strategy was paramount in integrating a new development with the established community. The architects worked in close collaboration with the client, Tower Hamlets Community Housing, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, English Heritage and a local residents group to push for design excellence throughout and this has been delivered down to the final detail by a highly committed contractor.


Photograph by Tim Crocker

Karakusevic Carson’s scheme redresses the impermeability of the former Brutalist structure by offering a series of three cleverly scaled building blocks rising from a 3-storey terrace of houses and maisonettes at the foot of Keeling House to a 7-storey block of apartments on Mansford Street, linked by a perimeter block of 2 and 3-storey houses. The scheme reinstates Tessdale Street as a pedestrian friendly route through the development, linking the public space fronted by family houses and maisonettes to the landscaped courtyards.

Conceived as an urban courtyard with inhabited edges, the scheme seeks to humanise the estate by creating a smaller more intimate mini-neighbourhood that includes a range of new public, shared and private spaces. The design emulates the pattern of the Victorian East End terraces that characterise the wider area, continuing through to the proportions of window and balcony openings, helping to activate and reconnect the estate with the nearby Victorian and Edwardian neighbourhoods.

Photograph by Tim Crocker

The scheme has the same level of accommodation as the former Bradley House but delivers a very different solution in terms of housing type and mix of tenure. At the start of the project Karakusevic Carson facilitated a successful and proactive consultation with the local community to define their needs and aspirations.

Photograph by Tim Crocker

From this a wide range of dwelling types were identified and a design strategy was developed to accommodate a genuine mix of use from private sale apartments, large family 6-bedroom homes and new homes for the over 60s being re-housed from larger council homes. The design studies explored the viability of social mix, house type and site density and how these could be reconciled with the desire for more public, shared and private space that the modernist configuration failed to provide. Karakusevic Carson Architects.

High quality materials are employed throughout, and where possible, with the least environmental impact. Engineering bricks create a base plinth to the development whilst copper cladding is fixed with an irregular pattern of joints to the upper floors, affording the building a hand crafted quality. The courtyard elevations are characterised by European larch, which complements the planting of the central amenity space.

Claredale Street was designed to ECO Homes ‘Very Good’ standard and utilises renewable energy and high-efficiency gas boiler for heating and hot water that serves the apartment building of 33 flats. All three building blocks have green roofs with solar thermal panels for hot water.

Described by the Greater London Authority Planning Department as “One of the best examples of estate regeneration”, Claredale Street is fulfilling Tower Hamlets Community Housing’s objective as an exemplar for future regeneration, demonstrating to the wider neighbourhood aspirations to create a more vibrant mixed community.

Last Updated on Friday, 14 January 2011 08:07