Palmer Garages

Design Competition for Housing Block | Archway, London

The proposal looks to create a progression of public and private spaces by splitting the programme over two brick flatted blocks. This defines an enclosed ‘courtyard’ space giving the residents a communal outdoor area which is overlooked by small private outdoor balconies to each flat. Access to the individual flats is through a controlled lane access between St Johns Grove and Brookside Road. A stair access joins the two blocks at ground floor, passing under a mesh screen that provides a visual and aural barrier to the beer garden while allowing light to penetrate into a raised courtyard.

The block to Brookside Road takes its form from the surrounding ancillary garages and stores and is articulated as the ‘back’ of the development - a high wall encloses a walled garden to the ground floor wheelchair flat with 3no. one bedroom flats above. The St Johns Grove block takes its cue from the surrounding residential buildings, both the flatted blocks adjacent and the townhouses further along the street. A more traditional form - three floors with a pitched roof - is set back from the street with a small garden space (retaining the existing tree).

The proposals present a strong formal order to the street and become more playful in the courtyard with ‘carved’ masses forming balconies and interconnecting spaces. To St Johns Grove window openings are celebrated with deep chamfered reveals allowing a strong formal order to be maintained while providing appropriate openings for the spaces they serve. This acknowledges the classical facades of the street and continues a practice of celebrating openings to the main elevation while the openings to Brookside Road are more suited to their utilitarian, ‘back of house’ context.