Green light for timber homes in Newham

Planning has been granted by Newham Borough Council in east London for an 800m² residential scheme for Cliveden Land. Edward Williams Architects has designed four new buildings to be inserted into the car parking area of an existing development of 39 homes. According to the architects, the aim is to create a landscaped, mews-style development providing a “quiet, green and secure environment” for all the residents, both old and new.

The four new buildings will comprise two blocks conjoined in ‘L’ shapes, positioned carefully in the rear car park alongside the existing housing, creating two new courtyards. Together they will provide nine apartments, including four three-bedroom homes and two one-bed semi-detached homes.

The timber cladding specified is intended to complement the brick facades of the existing buildings, and give a warm, natural feel to the development, boosted by an injection of new planting. The pitched roofs are to be clad in zinc, and sloped to allow daylight to penetrate the ground floors of the surrounding buildings. The north-facing pitches will feature large skylights to allow daylight to flood the upper apartments without undue heat gain.

Around the homes, it is hoped that the new landscaping and planting will provide a “leafy green outlook” for residents, while at the same time increasing privacy, providing rainwater run-off, and enhancing biodiversity. The planned landscaping includes green hedges and rich borders, providing a buffer between ground floor windows and parked cars, a covered bicycle storage area, and new bin storage on the street side. Birch, magnolia, maple, and cotinus trees will be planted in the lawn in order to add further colour.

Much of the new homes will reportedly be constructed using offsite prefabrication to enable a fast build, in order to minimise the impact on the existing residents. In terms of sustainability, the architects will specify materials which offer a high degree of thermal efficiency. Along with this, at least one-third of the parking spaces will have electric charging points.

In line with Newham’s Sustainable Community Strategy 2010-2030, the architects state that this project not only provides additional homes to the borough, but that it has been designed with a variety of tenants, their accessibility, and need for quality homes, in mind.

Laura Carrara-Cagni, director of Edward Williams Architects explained:

“Adding new homes in a variety of configurations into this constrained site pushed us to design a layout which uses the land particularly efficiently. We turned a car park into a beautiful, liveable community.

“Both the existing and new homes will enjoy common spaces activated by modern design and landscaping. The new house facades, with their palette of warm, natural materials, will give this neighbourhood a rooted, homely sustainable environment. This will encourage a sense of care and make this site safer and more valuable.”