Pollard Thomas Edwards architects
- Original design
- Pollard Thomas Edwards architects, 2017
The 2017 programme is now past. We will be launching the 2018 programme on 21st August.
Thomas Colby, Schoolmaster of the Sir George Monoux school, died of the Plague in 1609 leaving all his estate in trust for the poor of Walthamstow. Approximately 12 acres of land was purchased from the Lord of the Manor of the Walthamstow Toni, some of this land is still in use as allotments today.
During the early 1990s part of the land belonging to the Charity of Thomas Colby was subject to compulsory purchase by the Secretary of State for Transport for widening the North Circular Road, the payment made a significant impact on the assets of the almshouse charity and along with other property and investment sales generated assets for the charity to further its objects, including the development of the Colby Lodge Almshouses.
Flat entrances and kitchens are on the garden side for a sheltered sociable outlook, while balconies and terraces look outwards to the east over The Drive, except for the two garden flats which look west. The street frontage is landscaped in order to provide private terraces for the ground floor residents, an inviting entrance to visitors, and to the south an unobtrusive servicing area for visitors and deliveries.Individual A+ rated combi gas units provide hot water and the underfloor heating.
Level access wet rooms are provided with seats and grab rails as and when required. Flats are fully accessible and are wheelchair adaptable to comply with lifetime homes and the London Mayor’s Housing Design Guide standards.
The main common facilities are at the entrance with glazed doors into the garden for a direct visual link from the front to the back of the building. The garden room sits as a pavilion with the garden on three sides, an hairdressing/ therapy salon is accessed from the reception area. The lift and the main staircase are located conveniently at the south end of the building, with a single route of travel. There are substantial areas of green roofing, which will provide a welcome green outlook from various upper levels of the building.
Landscaping: the garden provides a walking route for safe exercise, paths are of permeable resin bonded gravel, a minimum of 1.2m wide with wheelchair passing places. The terrace outside the garden room and therapy salon is in a sheltered position and separated by a climber clad arch.
The private flats are separated from the walking route with hedging to give definition but to allow social interaction. The north end of the garden with the sunniest aspect has a sensory garden with seating, here a water feature creates a focus. An irrigated growing wall has pockets for growing salad, herbs and other plants.
Lighting & Ventilation: the flats are generous with high ceilings and large windows and doors to the main rooms, dual aspect with good natural lighting and cross ventilation. The selection of window type and controls was based on the ease of use and robustness. A Passivhaus approach has been adopted making a highly insulated building, whole house ventilation recovers heat before stale air is exhausted.
The Charity and Architects worked closely with the Borough’s senior occupational therapist in housing on general accessibility within the flats and to the entrance and reception area. The building entrance is well signposted to visitors with a wide opening up of the front landscaping framed with two Liquidambar trees, and a decorative metal covered porch with automated entrance doors into a welcoming reception with seating area, the reception will be staffed as part of the charity’s office. It is a pleasant well-lit space for staff to work.
An electric scooter store is located adjacent to the reception area. The reception area leads the visitor naturally towards the garden room at the rear and the route to the flats. The social functions of the building are grouped around the entrance and garden to protect the privacy of the flats. Progressive privacy is provided as the building’s communal facilities will provide services such as chiropody and hairdressing open to be used by residents of the other almshouses and the local community, so doors to the residential areas have controlled access via a door panel and fob system.
Vertical circulation is at the south end of the building, with a single direction of travel to and from the lift. There is an inviting accommodation staircase between access decks to encourage use of the stair rather than the lift. The glazed lobbied exit from the lift and stairs gives an orientating view along the access balcony and over the garden. The location of the lift at the entrance and having the same relationship to the flats on each floor make this layout easy to understand. The floor levels have different coloured front entrance doors to assist with orientation.
The semi enclosed access decks provide a space where residents may take the opportunity to socialise or just pass the time of day with neighbours and the decorative screening creates areas of privacy, the screening is designed to avoid light level contrast on the decking.
The building frontage is broken up into brick bays to relate to the scale and rhythm of the adjacent houses. The new building runs parallel to the street with the face of building aligning with the adjacent semi-detached house to the north, curing the gap and discordant relationship the previous building created with the road and the tree lined space opposite.
With the building position and orientation and principle outlook to the East, the secure and sheltered gardens and courtyard to the west form the heart of the scheme, providing opportunities for socialising, participating in activities and simply strolling around the garden. Ample bench seating has been provided within the garden and around the oak clad Garden Room with external window seats to south and west facing windows and internal seats to the north facing windows.
Visual screening to the external access decks to the rear, and to provide an element of enclosure and privacy to the private balconies at the front has been achieved with a cut decorative metal screen. This decorative screening to the external stairs at the rear and the front balconies provides a consistent facing material helping to unify the building as a whole.
The initial design for the panels used a William Morris design called Trellis (Rose) this design was abstracted by overlaying with a triangulated grid. William Morris lived in Walthamstow and Trellis was his first published pattern in 1870. The Trellis pattern appropriately suits the location as screening within the garden setting to the rear and to the park opposite at the front.
Safety and Security: the building has Secure by Design accreditation, all elements such as windows doors and security measures such as fencing, gates and lighting meet the requirements of the SBD specification.
The development directly addresses all relevant elements from BREEAM New Construction Multi Residential 2011. The proposed development has considered future possible impacts of climate change from hotter, wetter summers and colder, damper winters, by incorporating the sustainable design methods to improve natural ventilation from window design, creation of micro climates by the landscaping of the gardens also helping to reduce surface water runoff, and natural shading from the design of the balconies and screens.
The landscaping of the gardens will encourage wild life and provide habitats with suitable flora and fauna to enhance biodiversity and to provide residents with local seasonal interest and views.
The design of the building with thermal efficient walls, doors, windows and lower air permeability will lower heating costs. Dwellings have been designed with dual aspect facades creating cross ventilation through the apartment to remove unwanted solar heat in the summer. To ensure the flats are fresh and comfortable whole house ventilation is installed.