Carpenters Estate

- Olympic Legacy Housing - 

This existing site currently provides a significant proportion of social housing. And although University College London has been allowed to redevelop the land for their organisation, we felt it was important to explore residential alternatives. This is our conceptual residential master plan for the regeneration of the area.

The proposed scheme for the Carpenters Estate in Stratford is designed to rectify the mistakes of the existing site; providing better connectivity, social generation and community spirit through the creation of local community blocks with a mix of predominantly family town houses along the transversal streets to the green spine, and apartments and duplexes at either end of the terraces providing park views for most of the dwellings from front and rear.

Existing routes are retained with key avenues leading to the main square; this mostly involves reconnecting the broken urban street grid caused by the previous implementation of cul-de-sacs. These urban blocks have street frontage entrances for the town houses and duplexes, but with apartment entrances in each corner of the courtyards; this enables a constant flow of residents in and out of the rear spaces.

The Ossulston Estate in King’s Cross and the Karlmarxhof were the inspiration behind creating an arched entrance to these semi-public areas, with shops at ground level along the frontages facing the high street buildings; these gateways become moments for social interaction and community generation. Families, couples and single residents all share the same courtyard, and by introducing raised ground floor levels, and creating quality first floor balconies with ergonomic stone sills, residents are encouraged to gaze upon the rear space and enjoy the social atmosphere this will create. The front and rear of each dwelling has been given the same importance, allowing for a more interesting view architecturally, and reinforcing the notion that these rear courtyards are important to the local residents.

The communities can then interact in the larger open space that is the green spine, bound by the two regenerated towers to the North and South of the site. A tension is formed between these two twenty-three storey towers, by linking them with a continuous open park. This serves as a connective space for all the courtyards, as well as a new access route through the site from the proposed South entrance to the Stratford Mainline station directly above the north tower, through to the primary school, offices, warehouses and further high rise developments currently under construction along the high street. Whilst there will be green space available in the nearby Olympic Park, the only means of access will be through a tunnel under the railway along Carpenters Road.

The three storey town houses would provide a much needed reduction to human scale, and four/five storey apartments would rise to create a buffer along the west, east and south-east periphery, forming a stronger façade against the warehouses and high rise residential and commercial establishments.

Lacaton & Vassal provided inspiration for the tower block regeneration in their 16th Arondissement project on which similar principles were applied (Tour Bois-le-Prêtre). However this proposal goes much further in terms of bringing the towers up to energy efficient standards, as well as the London Design Guide and Lifetime Homes. The internal layouts have been changed to provide a more favourable mix of three and four bedroom dwellings, allowing families to occupy them and enjoy breath-taking views.

As well as residential refurbishment, the ground floor of each block will have a café/restaurant, with multiple small scale (3m x 3m) trading units; these would allow the possibility of live/work scenarios for residents in the tower blocks, as well as creating a sense of community pride and social interaction at ground level by reinstating the urban marketplace at the heart of the regeneration.

A community of locals is formed between the residential courtyards, the tower blocks with ground floor social generators, and permeable spaces throughout the site. Everyone will feel part of the community, with residents interacting on a daily basis.

© studioKM. All images.