Unusually, the brief for this plot sought a completely affordable housing scheme. Customarily, housing plots typically accommodate a range of tenure. And it is here that there is much to celebrate. Notable is the location and its context, one intrinsically related with the Russia Dock Woodlands and its magnificent landscape setting. This might ordinarily be identified as a market opportunity, exploited for financial return. Instead, we have the potential to create meaningful relationships between people who are most in need of housing (those often marginalised) and the splendour of a stretch of biodiverse landscape.
The scheme has been carefully planned to bring together often competing and conflicting influences, with well-voiced local sensitivities, to create an optimal number of affordable homes, whilst observing the scale and grain of the historic and emerging buildings. This has not been easy. It has necessitated a significant process of engagement, through the project office located in the Surrey Quays shopping centre, with exhibitions, presentations, meetings and one-to-one drop in sessions, alongside a collaborative and close-working relationship with the local authority.
We believe the results set an ambitious benchmark for projects of a comparable tenure. The scheme accommodates homes with dual and triple aspect, wrapped around a safe and secure central landscape court, and in a form which opens on its southern boundary towards the bio-rich woodland, while not dominating this setting. The building’s design and detail envisages a long-term durable and sustainable scheme and community, one which we expect to stand the test of time.