London, United Kingdom
Designed for London Community Land Trust (CLT) by London-based architectural studio Archio, Citizens House in South London is a residential complex comprising 11 affordable houses that are designed in close collaboration with their future tenants.
“CLTs are nonprofit organizations that develop and maintain assets such as affordable homes, community gardens, civic buildings, pubs, and shops on behalf of a community, putting control of those assets into the hands of local people,” states Archio’s director Mellis Haward.
“Much of the design discussion we had with the residents centred on the public space outside the homes, as the building was positioned to open up an existing pedestrian route into a new shared public space.”
The residential complex consists of three blocks and each apartment has its own entrance.
The color of the buildings is white, white bricks cover the exterior walls and the future residents can access their homes via white metal staicases.
All apartments overlook the landscaped communal square below, which has been finished with herringbone brickwork.
Complementing the new public square, pale, almost white brickwork defines the entire exterior of the block, with subtly contrasting, vertically-laid brick used to delineate each floor plate.
“A pale brick with smooth pale brick banding was chosen to give the building a distinct character amid the sea of brown and red brick neighbouring housing, whilst also recessing into its ‘back-land’ site,” explains Haward.
“In the landscape a ‘carpet’ of clay bricks are laid in a herringbone pattern outside the homes. The ‘carpet’ makes the space feel like a public square rather than a car park, and the herringbone pattern references the domestic scale,” she continues.
All residences are flooded with natural light with full-height areas of glazing opening onto the balconies to maximise a feeling of connection to the communal areas.
Project: Citizens House
Architects: Archio Ltd.
Lead Architect: Mellis Haward
Client: London Community Land Trust (CLT)