Weston Williamson architects reveal award-winningstudent accommodation in Lewisham
Chapter Lewisham,a distinctive‘boutique’ concept of student accommodation, part of Lewisham Council’s town centre regeneration plan, opened its doors to students late last week.
Weston Williamson+Partners, working with building contractor Tide, used the latest technologies in prefabricated module building, by Vision Modular Designs, to deliver one of the largest and mostcreative modern student accommodations to date.
Subsequent to the brief forpremium student living, led by US company Greystar, WW+P produced a carefullyconsidered design for a 611-unit building and associated urban realm,one which has already won thema prize in the International Property Awards under the “Best Multiple Residence for London” category.
Working under a revised planning application, and in close collaboration with the Council’s newly instated requirements for a revitalisedLewisham town centre, WW+P and Tidearticulateda design that provided a positive contribution to the urban context and the aspirations of the Lewisham Town Centre Redevelopment plan.
About the project, Senior WW+P Partner Philippe Breese said “On Chapter Lewisham, our experience of collaborative team working, using market leading pre-fabricated units, has got to be the way forward for solvinga significant part of the current housing shortage. We look forward to delivering more high quality buildings of this type across London and the UK”.
The challenge for the architects was to accommodate 636 modular prefabricated units, in a design response that wouldsatisfy the aspirations of the clientand the local authority by enhancing the perceptions of space and public realm. This was in the unreceptive context of a block of already existinghigh-rise developments forming the backdrop to the streetscape.
Philip Breese, Senior Partner at WW+P and his team chose to ‘open up’ the site by introducing an entrance canopy linking the west and east blocks to maintain the colonnade aspect across the full length of the building. The response ensured that the two blocks were punctuated with large windows to student bedrooms and communal spaces. They used modular construction for each of the residential areas above the ground floor accounting for approximately 90% of the building’s overall floor area drawing huge benefits inreducing on-site waste, associated traffic noise and dust pollution and transport-related CO2 emissions.
Manufactured in central England, the modular construction units not only provide domestic jobs but also allow for significant programme savings on site. Each of the 636 modules were delivered to site and erected in just three months, with full construction of the scheme achieved in approximately 10 months.
WW+P have designed Sherwood Court with a deliberate intent to reinstate the streetscape and enhance its future character and activity. Furthermore, a number of elegantly landscaped green strips respond to and accentuate the existing buffer of trees adjacent to the railway. This stands in good stead with theUK national planning policy which favours growth around public transport hubs reducing reliance on travel by car while also protecting existing green spaces.