O Central, Elephant & Castle Housing

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Elephant & Castle Architecture Project, UK – design by Space Craft Architects

16 Jul 2009

O Central – Elephant & Castle Housing

Design: Space Craft Architects

O Central London

Project Description

Crampton Street is a mixed use housing scheme that revitalises a brown field site at Elephant & Castle in London to provide 202 new homes and a ground level of vibrant new work space, grouped around a new courtyard. This new public space emulates the well established live work environments of the area, and forms the start of a new pedestrian route linking to Walworth Road.

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An understanding of the surrounding urban context was the starting point for the scheme. The pattern of existing yards was a strong influence on the grouping of the new buildings together with a desire to create a a new commercial street alongside the railway. The scheme respects the scale and form of the 19th Century Victorian tenaments opposite placing the ‘affordable housing’ element of the scheme in the most desirable location, along Crampton Street, with the higher value apartments adjacent to the railway line. Looking at the scheme from a purely financial perspective our clients initially thought this seemed to be all wrong. Who in their right mind would put the most valuable accommodation in the least desirable place? Our client, quite rightly, asked us to explain ourselves. We explained that the overall density of the scheme would be driven by what would be achievable on Crampton Street facing the existing 4 storey terraces and that by positioning the affordable element here (35% of the total) far higher overall densities across the site would be achievable. We also felt it was the ‘right thing to do.’

The challenge then was to design a building of the highest quality to secure our client the best planning permission. This was achieved in 2005 with the full support of the Local Planning Authority who felt that the approach to the local context the high quality of the design madder it an exemplary scheme and catalyst for the regeneration of Elephant & Castle. The building has since won the ‘New Homes Award 2008′ for the Best New Development in Affordable Housing.’

O Central – Building Information

Delivered by: Tate Hindle
Client: Oakmayne Properties
Project Size: 67 affordable homes – 135 private homes – 20 work spaces
Cost: £23m
Start & Completion Dates: Feb 2006 – Jul 2008

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