BUST, BOOM, BOMB
Many sites in London are the consequenece of thecity's turbulent history of development, destruction and redevelopment—a pattern of boom, bust, and bomb. That was the case for this site in aSouthwark Conservation area, where we were commissioned tobuild a new town house.
The area was originally developed in the early 1800s as a terrace of houses facing a generous central park. By the 1870s, pressure on land meant that the park was developed into terrace housing, but the area was bombed in 1942, and a portion of the terrace was destroyed. Our site, on a narrow piece of land, less than half the width of the adjacent houses was at the edge of this bombed area, now used as a community garden.
The key concept was to build a house that was ‘strangely familiar’—strange in its expression, but familiar in its materiality and detail.
Southwark Council supported a design which offered a strong architectural presence to the Community Gardens. Our solution was to refer to the dog-tooth brick cornice detail of the adjacent terraced houses and express this detail on the front and side elevations in a new and slightly unexpected way. Roof and fenestration lines are carried through from old to new, but translat-ed into new proportions and new relationships. The material and geometric connection of new and old anchors the building to its context, and hopeful-ly means that the building doesn’t look too much like the new kid on the block.