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Iroko London SE1

must be one of the most enticing places to live in Central London


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1 2 Designer Haworth Tompkins Developer Coin Street Community Builders Contractor Mansell Planning Authority London Borough of Lambeth 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

How does your garden grow? Upper level street to maisonettes Typical house: Gnd Flr plan Typical house: 1st Flr plan Typical house: 2nd Flr plan Typical house: 3rd Flr plan Street view Communal landing Site plan

Three and four storey houses at affordable rents next to the National Theatre, all with private gardens, balconies and roof terraces? Surely not. Yet they do indeed form over half the 59 units on the site, with access to a huge, secure communal open space into the bargain. And these are not run of the mill dwellings either: their planning, construction, detailing and finishes would turn many a private purchaser green with envy; with generous ceiling heights, exposed timber rafters, and luxury features like chromium plated pipework (which actually makes considerable sense in terms of long-term maintenance). Of course, Coin Street is a rather special case. The land came for virtually nothing, and the underground car park on which the development sits provides a vital revenue stream. But the money has been wisely spent, on a horseshoe shaped plan with street access to the houses on all three sides. On Upper Ground, the brick street elevations rise a further storey, to accommodate a row of maisonettes served by a street in the sky which, for once, really works.

At the knuckle end corners flats and maisonettes sit above strategically placed shops. The access stairs which serve them are not gloomy afterthoughts but generous, beautifully finished spaces, which are already being colonised by potted plants. The houses each benefit from a small, secure, internal entrance court where bikes and wellies can be parked, and bins are housed in specially designed units on the pavement. At every level, there is access to a private open space, and these are fully used for toddler play, ornamental plants or intensive vegetable gardening. This unusual scheme, the result of a limited competition, demonstrates that high density family housing can be perfectly viable in the core of a city, given intelligent design, access to local services and transport, and a proper management framework. It also shows that, with adequate funding, the public sector can equal the very best that the private sector is currently able to offer, generating what must be one of the most enticing places to live in Central London.

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