Trafalgar Place

Trafalgar Place

Architect
dRMM
Location
Elephant and Castle, London, United Kingdom
Category
Housing
© Alex de Rijke

Trafalgar Place

dRMM as Architects

Trafalgar Place is the flagship housing project delivered as part of Lendlease’s regeneration of Elephant and Castle. Comprising 235 high-quality homes, including 25% affordable housing, integrated within a vibrant landscape and mature trees, the project transforms the built environment whilst referencing the historic fabric of the neighbourhood.


Previously known as “the Piccadilly of south London”, Elephant and Castle suffered huge damage during the Second World War. Redevelopment in the 1960s resulted in huge structures such as the Shopping Centre, the Heygate Estate and the Northern Roundabout which gave priority to vehicles and created a disconnect between the buildings and landscape. The Elephant Park masterplan for the redevelopment of the Heygate Estate aims to enrich the qualities of the area, creating a thriving, desirable place to live, work and visit. Trafalgar Place is infused with the local context, having been developed through extensive public consultation with local residents. The architecture counters the failings of the previous Heygate Estate’s alienating size and severe concrete mass by returning to the beauty of brick and in its full spectrum of colours like a multi coloured Phoenix.


The massing and height of the Trafalgar Place buildings provide variety through scale with a mixture of mini-towers, apartment buildings and townhouses. Each apartment has been designed from the inside out to maximise natural daylight, ventilation and internal usable space. All homes have either a garden, balcony or roof terrace.


Working in close collaboration with landscape architects Grant Associates, dRMM and Lendlease sought to re-connect the dislocated adjacent neighbourhoods that were previously fractured by the elevated walkways and heavy architectural interventions of the Heygate estate. We have improved public spaces with a woodland walk to the north and a central thoroughfare that links the communities to the east and west of the site. A landscaped central courtyard serves as a central community space and covers a car park beneath.


The façade treatments of the development echoes the context. Brick was selected as the principle façade material to correspond with the neighbouring buildings. In total, eight types of bricks are used across Trafalgar Place treatments to give reference to the materiality of the neighbouring buildings. For instance; the courtyard references the terraced housing to the east, the red façades take homage from the adjacent Vicarage and church, whilst the dynamic colour banding along the principle frontage mirrors the opposite Peabody Estate’s C19 building with its brick base, red body, fine terracotta detailing and slate blue roof.


The façade is animated by brick detailing in a series of deep recesses that alternate between brick courses and result in moments of expression. In addition, brick clad parapets and deep window reveals add to the sense of depth across the seamless brick façades. At junctions between varying brickwork colours, keyed-in corners refer to traditional brickworking methods whilst whimsically playing on proportion and scale.


The uniqueness of the various facade treatments across Trafalgar Place enhances the urban context whilst also providing a sense of individuality to each of the residential buildings and in turn fosters sense of identity for the residents who live there.


Our commitment to environmentally aware and responsible building is further demonstrated by the construction of two of the Trafalgar Place buildings being made from cross-laminated timber (CLT), a first for Lendlease in the United Kingdom. Across the project, Trafalgar Place provides over 1800m2 of apartment floor area in the carbon sequestering engineered timber structures of these two buildings, greatly reducing the carbon impact of constructing these homes.


The timber itself provides a natural, healthy, non-allergenic environment for residents to inhabit, while the delivery of the project highlighted the advantages of working with engineered timber as opposed to traditional reinforced concrete. The CLT superstructure was erected in just six weeks and provided a clean site for the rapid progress of follow-on trades to work off.


As London densifies and seeks to cope with its chronic housing shortage and improve inner-city living, we believe that quality of life and an awareness of the effects of the built environment at a local and global level should be paramount.


Trafalgar Place provides homes with a unique sense of identity - steeped in the surrounding context whilst addressing its impact on the environment around it.


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