A land swap was the key to unlocking the potential of a landlocked site at Churchley Road in Sydenham, southeast London. Commissioned to design apartments on a flytipped site enclosed on three sides by allotments, RCKa proposed a 210sq m land swap after consultations with friends of the allotment and council officers.
As well as improving access, this neatens up the irregular shape of the site and increases its size from 580 to 690sq m, enabling an extra two apartments to be created.
The site also includes a 200sq m community space oriented on a mature oak tree, which it is hoped will become a focal point within the development, with the tree canopy providing shelter.
The allotment association will gain use of the new facilities in the ground floor of the block. The hope is that theseamenities will enable the society to remain financially sustainable, as the community space can be used to hold organised events such as produce markets and horticultural education programmes.
"It's a good example of how taking a collaborative approach can benefit all parties," says RCKa director Tim Riley.
The massing of the seven-unit apartment building takes its cue from the Victorian and Edwardian four-storey mansion blocks in the nearby conservation area. It is conceived as a pavilion in the landscape, with a distinctive butterfly-form zinc roof. A stepped plan breaks down the overall mass and is semidetached in scale.
Units house three and four bedrooms, with generous windows giving views across the allotments and beyond. Brick will be combined with composite timber-aluminium windows, timber cladding to recesses and metal balustrading.
The project has been submitted for planning permission.