Foundry Mews

The redevelopment of a redundant car park in Walthamstow demonstrates how it’s possible to deliver a broad mix of affordable homes across a range of tenures even on sites with challenging constraints.

This scheme provides a broad mix of housing types and tenures, including four family mews houses, two family duplexes, and six flats – all for sale under shared ownership – plus a further nine single-occupancy assisted living apartments for adults with learning difficulties. The development was a joint venture between East Thames Housing Group and London Borough of Waltham Forest.

With a very tight deadline to achieve completion of the scheme – due to funding obligations from the Greater London Authority – East Thames appointed RCKa in the knowledge that we had considerable experience in unlocking complex urban sites and would be able to progress a scheme quickly and efficiently which met their joint development objectives. We were able to achieve a viable planning scheme in 10 weeks – which was then approved within a further eight weeks – well within the programme set by the funding body.

"... a thoughtfully designed development, which holds community at its heart."
First Time Buyer Awards

Reconciling the myriad site constraints was a particular challenge, but despite these the completed scheme manages to achieve both a viable quantum of development whilst maintaining a layout which encourages a sense of ownership and community; a satisfying combination of private, semi-private and public space centred around a south-facing courtyard that encourages neighbourly interaction, security through passive surveillance and inclusion. Every home within the development benefits from dual-aspect orientation ensuring excellent natural daylight and long views of the buildings beyond.

The four storey apartment block has two distinct faces; on the northern side, a robust brick façade which addresses Forest Road and creates a buffer to this rather hostile designated A road. The carefully detailed brick front elevation has splayed window reveals creating visual interest for the passer-by. On the southern side the otherwise heavy apartment block is completely glazed with a curtain walling system.

All homes overlook and are entered from the shared mews space which creates a calming sense of community and security within this challenging urban site.

All homes are accessed via the semi-private mews courtyard. One enters through a large, double storey opening in the apartment block. Every home within the development overlooks these mews.

All upper floor apartments, regardless of tenure, are accessed from a south-facing filigrane steel gallery which encourages neighbourliness and interaction. The gallery is linked to each apartment by a bridge leading to a recessed front door, thus creating a sheltered, private balcony space which is overlooked by the living room. All apartments are true dual aspect with large open plan kitchens opening up towards the communal mews space.

There are two pairs of houses which form a terrace running perpendicular to the apartment block, framing the mews courtyard. Each pair of houses shares a semi-enclosed courtyard overlooked by their kitchen windows and onto which their front doors open. A further threshold in the sequence from public street to private home is thus created.

Client: East Thames Group
Construction Value: £4.5m
Completion: Summer 2016
Location: Walthamstow, London