Sandy Rendel Architects has completed a compact mixed-use development on the site of a former builders’ yard in south London. Set on a prominent corner on the edge of the Holly Grove Conservation Area in Peckham, the scheme provides a pair of new houses and the extension of a successful existing restaurant.
The project was in part motivated by the close connections of the involved parties to the location. It was commissioned by clients and designed by an architect who all live on the street and built by a contractor who previously occupied the builders’ yard.
The key challenge was to extract the maximum potential from this shallow, single aspect and landlocked plot while remaining sympathetic to its context.
The design evolved as a pair of mews-type houses extending the terrace towards Bellenden Road and replicating the scale and rhythm of the adjacent street scene. This becomes less regular in style and detailing towards the plot but is characterised by pairs of either two- or three-storey mirrored terraced houses.
Restricted by the shallow plot, following extended negotiations with the local authority the architect was able to exploit the established massing of an existing single storey block previously built out to the pavement line. This volume was redeployed to provide external courtyards and entrances shielded by a masonry frame and decorative metal screens.
The main body of the new building is constructed from stock brickwork akin to the adjoining properties. Bespoke precast concrete window lintels, cills and string course provide simple ornamentation along with the perforated metalwork of the window ventilation panels, courtyard screens and terrace balustrade.
Poor ground conditions and a tight site added to the complexity of the build and the construction cost. Other than this the build comprised conventional masonry construction with timber floors and roofs. The design of bespoke precast concrete features and simple but carefully-considered details kept costs low, while maintaining the architectural intent.