Studio Woodroffe Papa were part of an ambitious plan by Elephant and Castle Regeneration to deliver high quality mixed-use developments on council owned land. Our infill housing scheme maximizes space available on the southern edge of the Rockingham Estate and brings new active street frontages to a busy road. The site is constrained on all boundaries; by a railway viaduct to the west, New Kent Road to the south and an existing residential block and tower to the north and east
Arch Street tackles the central issue of how successful family living can be sustained on available but constrained inner city land. For the Arch Street site, the architecture of the project had to perform a number of urban tasks that questioned the appropriateness of a traditional perimeter block; balancing viability and tenure mix without impacting the sunlight, daylight and views of the existing tenants.
A well-articulated assemblage of point blocks with varying heights balance the need for acoustic and visual privacy with the need for sunlight and visual engagement with the protected communal areas inside.
At the ground level, the placement of buildings shapes pedestrian movement and allows visual permeability. The overall scheme for circulation and visibility creates a secure and effective relationship between the street and the internal communal garden. Because of the adjoining rail viaduct, this area lacks sufficient commercial promise to fill an entire ground floor of a linear block or perimeter block organisation. The articulated tower solution minimises the need for retail to occupy an extensive ground floor, while also accommodating a large number of new residents to support some inclusion of retail and services in a balanced way.
In addition the stepping of the buildings allows light to flood the courtyard and, subsequently diversifies the communal spaces offered to families with a series of roof gardens and terraces.
Although visually ‘open’ the approach to its material identity is to define the differentiation between the urban perimeter of angular wooden panels and the communal courtyard with its warmer and lighter surface of brick.