Paradise Gardens is a development of six houses that represents a model for flexible, contemporary living. Our two main challenges were the tight site – a formerly derelict yard in a conservation area overlooked by neighbouring properties and next to a locally listed terrace – and the scheme’s creation for the private rental sector, so the houses needed to be both hard-wearing and of discernibly high-quality to attract families into the area.
Our solution was a contemporary response to local brick-built Victorian houses, with five three-storey houses forming a terrace and a sixth, two-storey, built within the walls of Latymer House, which once stood on the site. The houses are entered from a cobbled courtyard, which provides six parking spaces, and residents share communal gardens conceived in the spirit of similar, albeit larger, garden communities in West London. The exterior is detailed in buff-coloured brick with bronze anodised and aluminium-framed windows. The roofs are in black zinc that dresses down the western gable wall and the entrance porches. The sixth house is built from a darker brick to match the retained walls.
The key to the houses’ success lies in their generous interiors, which are flexible enough to accommodate change, and in the exceptional quality of the build. Floor-to-ceiling heights of three metres and a six- by six-metre layout create the optimum size for different configurations, depending on the family.
The steel frame structure gives the flexibility to break through laterally, and there are no load-bearing elements between party walls. Finishes for the house are exacting and of discernibly high-quality, but equally robust and able to be redecorated easily. The buildings go beyond Code for Sustainable Homes (CfSH) level 4 through the upgrade of façade performance in line with Code 5 requirements.
Paradise Gardens is a small development, but an important one for us. Winner of a London and National RIBA award, plus the Architects Journal Housing Project of the Year, its success is not simply as a space that accommodates six families, but as somewhere a community might begin to grow. With the private rental sector forecast to increase in the coming years, the communal garden, flexible spaces and high-quality finish all combine to instil in residents a feeling of liberation and pride not commonly associated with the rental sector.
Material Used :
1. Facing brickwork: Petersen Tegl, D71 white/buff
2. Rainscreen cladding and roofing: VM Zinc, dark grey pre-weathered zinc standing seam
3. Aluminium windows and doors: Schuco AWS and ADS series, bronze anodised by United Anodisers
4. Porphyry setts to driveway: CED Ltd, light beige colour with sawn/flame textured exposed faces
5. Terrace paving: CED Ltd, light silver grey granite pavers