- Architects: alma-nac
- Location: 9 Cargreen Rd, London, United Kingdom
- Lead Architect: Caspar Rodgers
- Area: 2495.0 m2
- Project Year: 2017
- Photographs: Jack Hobhouse
- Form Of Contract Or Procurement Route: Construction management
- Structural Engineer : Civic Engineers
- Mep Consultant: Integration UK
- Planning Consultant: Rolfe Judd
- Project Manager: Joseph Homes
- Cdm Coordinator : Goddard Consulting
- Approved Building Inspector: Greendoor
- Construction Cost: £5 million
- Construction Cost Per M²: £2,004
- Client: Joseph Homes
- Cad Software Used: Archicad
- Annual Co2 Emissions : 14.6kgCO2eq/m²
Text description provided by the architects. Paxton House is an innovative housing solution on a complex site, for Joseph Homes in Croydon, South London. Forty-three dwellings and a series of shared spaces have been carefully crafted to occupy an existing concrete-framed building, a former office block which had been left vacant and was being used by squatters.
Avoiding a traditional central corridor arrangement, the architects have achieved a very different type of apartment block. Through the design of an external circulation strategy, every single apartment has been created as dual aspect, with a south facing living space.
Along the building’s tight perimeter, each room on the south facing elevation is a living space which makes use of an angled balcony that provides privacy and directs views over nearby train tracks. Here, acetylated timber ensures the sustainable longevity of the cladding. This tightly set, animated facade naturally led to an angled balustrade design, ensuring privacy from neighbouring apartments and adjoining gardens alike, while maximising vistas from inside.
Angled balconies and external circulation mean Paxton House can boast sun-filled apartments that avoid looking north.
Paired apartments share entrance lobbies, recessed into the centre of the floorplan, enabling the use of efficient, slim layouts. Such an approach allows flats to have a more neighbourly feel, representing a departure from the typically anonymous multi-unit residential living.
Furthermore, Paxton House offers a spare bedroom and workspace. These are shared by the whole building and the latter can be found as part of the building’s generously sized lobby, accessed from Cargreen Road. The spare bedroom, which re-addresses the requirements of apartment living in London, can be found on the top floor where a shared roof terrace with a built-in bbq also resides, all of which complete the strong communal aspect of Paxton House.
To minimise the impact of external circulation, the walkway’s design is specific in terms of its physical position, lighting and acoustic performance. These walkways adopt chipped rubber, commonly found in children’s playgrounds, to ensure acoustic dampening and create a characterful, experiential mode of passage.
These routes through the building are defined by specific material palettes with floors being colour matched according to level. On the ground floor is brick paving which extends into a courtyard outside, softening the threshold between internal and external spaces.
The ground floor also houses eight one-bed apartments, a studio apartment and a shared living room-cum-workspace. The first, second and third floors offer nine one-bed dwellings along with a studio and the fourth floor comprises three two-bedroom apartments, a spare bedroom and shared roof terrace.
Caspar Rodgers, Director of alma-nac: “Given the existing footprint and building aspect, a typical approach of general arrangement – a central corridor servicing flats on either side, would have resulted in North facing, single aspect apartments. We approached the scheme differently. Setting out to provide every single apartment with both dual aspects, but critically, with south/southwest facing living rooms, we achieved this through the provision of an external circulation strategy. We designed an external circulation structure running across the north facing elevation, acoustically dampened and physically offset from the building to minimise its impact to occupants. This doubled as a services tracking route, increasing the available head-height within the apartments, and reducing issues of internal service transfer.”
Mike Stott, Development Director at Joseph Homes: “The Joseph Homes design team, working closely with alma-nac, created an innovative design that is beautiful, useful and durable; thereby producing an offering in the area that created real value for local buyers.”