Tag Archives: Green Housing

The Green Team

We’re very proud of our architects at Conran today. They have been shortlisted for a Housing Design Award for the Green Man Lane development in Ealing.

The awards are some of the most prestigious in public housing development, supported by the Government, the Royal Institute of British Architects, and the National House Building Council.

Image

The view of the community café from Singapore Road

The Green Man Lane estate will comprise over 750 new homes for affordable rental, shared ownership and sale. New community facilities will include an hotel, a low cost gym and a market square with cafes, park and retail space.

Image

The whole site from above

The houses will achieve Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, and will utilise rainwater collectors and water-saving technology.

The project is headed up by Paul Zara, Director of Conran & Partners.

“We want this to be outstanding architecture that raises the spirits of those who live there. Our aim is to set new standards in Ealing and create a place where people will be proud to be a resident.” 

Being shortlisted for a Housing Design Award seems like to a good start to us, Paul.

You can read more about the 2012 Housing Design Awards here.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Conran & Partners, Conran Awards, Sustainable Design, Uncategorized

Conran: Debating our housing crisis

Given the current housing crisis in the UK, it’s useful to look back to the great decade of housing around 50 years ago. 

In the book “A Decade of British Housing 1963-1973” the period is reviewed, lessons are learnt and the future of housing is debated. 

At that stage only 6% of housing stock was made up of the output of the new voluntary housing groups (now called housing associations or RSLs) and by the end of the period architects were starting to look at a numbers of issues including reducing car use, shared surfaces, the end of fossil fuels, prefabrication, off-site timber frame construction and lack of land – so in many ways very little has changed!

The big opportunity that we are currently exploring is really about putting right some of those mistakes made 50 years ago.  

When estates like Green Man Lane in Ealing were built they were the great hope for the future: optimistic 1960s living, with all the facilities you needed – shops, GP surgeries, nurseries, and a post office.

But a mixture of bad design, bad management and poor construction meant that many of these estates had a limited lifespan.  At the time they met a need – slums were cleared away and bright airy new flats in the sky were the solution!

They in turn now offer a new solution.  Estate regeneration allows us to take a fresh look at these places.  Sometimes they need total demolition, with a complex plan for “decanting” residents, buying out or doing deals with leaseholders. 

And sometimes all or part of the estate can be refurbished.  Good buildings should be restored and re-used, despite their problems. Alison and Peter Smithson’s Robin Hood Gardens in East London is iconic and should be cherished. Look at the wonderful Park Hill in Sheffield saved by Tom Bloxham’s Urban Splash.

The result, if it works, can be high quality high-density urban living with multi-tenure housing serving diverse communities. 

When working with residents on an estate I always tell them that my hope is that, when complete, their estate effectively disappears and is replaced instead by streets, squares and courtyards that are part of the city and part of the community.

I think we’re getting this right  but we need to sort the issues around densification – we need schools, surgeries, shops, workplaces within easy reach, or ideally within these developments.  

But the architecture has to be the best possible too – and that’s where “tenure-blind” architecture comes in to its own.  If you need to sell flats and houses then the whole development must be good.  No more affordable housing in the worst part of the site!

We are producing good affordable housing and we are providing some of the greenest housing in the UK, with better space standards than many private developers, though we still build some of the smallest flats in Europe.

We looked at this issue of density over two decades ago at Butlers Wharf. It’s now a new city quarter with houses, flats, shops, restaurants, offices, a nursery and a museum.  It set new standards for urban living.

And now we are doing it again at a similar scale in Ealing, Walthamstow and other sites around London. 

These developments, when they are large enough and have a critical mass, can change our city for the better, and we can show that we have learned from history and can make places that work!

 Paul Zara, Director, Conran & Partners

Read more about our work on regenerating London’s housing estates here: www.conranandpartners.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Conran & Partners, Conran and London

Conran: Green architecture that raises the spirit of a community

It’s all steam ahead on Conran & Partner’s new green housing project in Ealing.

Back in September C&P were granted outline planning permission for the masterplan and detailed planning consent for phase one of the regeneration of the Green Man Lane Estate scheme which includes 154 new homes, enterprise employment units, new roads and parking spaces, a playspace for children, a community café and an energy centre to provide energy-efficient heating and energy to the new neighbourhood.

A visualisation of the scheme

Paul Zara is leading the project for C&P

“The redevelopment of Green Man Lane is of vital importance both to the area and to the people that live there. The opportunity to provide high quality homes for the current residents alongside new homes for sale and rent is a great responsibility and one that we have taken very seriously. We want this to be outstanding architecture that raises the spirits of those who live there. Our aim is to set new standards in Ealing and create a place where people will be proud to be a resident.”

It’s all about the people: residents, neighbours and other stakeholders have worked for over a year with the regeneration team to help shape plans for the project, giving their input into a range of areas including design, community regeneration and neighbourhood management.

The regeneration team also includes local housing provider A2Dominion and developer Rydon.

All in all a great team effort. We will be watching the developments with interest…

Read more about it on Conran & Partners website

2 Comments

Filed under Conran & Partners, Conran and London, Sustainable Design