Unifying three different communities into one truly intergenerational housing project in north London.
This unusual project involved working with three separate clients, each with a distinct brief, to provide new homes for three different communities: first time buyers, Orthodox Jewish families and older people who need extra care. Our challenge was provide of each group of residents with homes meeting their needs within a single, elegant building.
The site was previously home to run-down bedsit accommodation, providing poor quality dwellings for very few people. We sought to change this by designing homes that are attractive, appropriate and appealing within a building that could comfortably accommodate more people. There was an opportunity to make more of the location too, with Clapton Pond facing the site and the Lea Valley to the rear, we wanted residents to feel connected to the environment and enjoy views out onto these spaces.
Our design focused on creating a new community within one new unified building. Our aim was to create a diverse scheme where residents enjoy interacting and sharing space and time together.
Key to this is the way the building shows very little difference externally across the three tenures – creating a sense of equality across each of the groups.
The only exception is the use of subtly different balcony types, which were designed with the practical and cultural requirements of the residents in mind. The private apartments have simple stacking balconies to provide additional outdoor space; those for the Orthodox Jewish families are staggered to provide a clear view of the sky for the Sukkot festival; and those for the older residents are glazed to provide more shelter and an extra ‘living space’ for those who spend more time inside.
This bespoke approach continues inside the building. The private apartments are open plan with one or two bedrooms to suit first time buyers. Homes for Orthodox Jewish families have at least three bedrooms and include extra sinks and external space needed for religious festivals. Many of the homes for older people follow HAPPI design recommendations, with flexible layouts to help residents move around more easily.
All residents share a large green square to the front of the building, which also has a small play area for children. The older residents also have two enclosed gardens to the rear of the building – one is landscaped and has seating areas for quiet respite, whilst the other has raised beds to encourage people to grow their own fruit and vegetables.
Buccleuch House has won several design awards since completion in 2015, but a better marker of its success is in the way the community has integrated there. All 107 homes are sold and occupied, bringing activity and diversity where previously there was very little.