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Angell Town Phase 1

Brixton, London

Angell Town Phase 1

Evaluation

The completed scheme demonstrates clear understanding of key design principles as well as an exemplary consultation and participation process involving residents throughout.

Its design echoes the 3 storey 'villa' character of well-liked older housing with similar heights in the area. Mews entrances echo bridges, a strong feature of nearby Brixton, incorporating local character as desired by residents. Materials and façades echo neighbouring architecture of different periods without copying, fitting well into context whilst making a new statement. Trees help define the limits of car courts, and standard materials used in public areas are durable and low maintenance, including concrete block paving, concrete paving slabs and tarmac. Individual units display clear evidence of personalisation, visible in windowsill displays facing the street, indicating a strong sense of ownership and a direct interaction with the public area.

Streets are clearly defined and well enclosed by boundary walls, railings and building fronts. Clear front doors, windows and balconies face directly onto the public streets and areas, giving surveillance of all public spaces. Dwarf walls and railings with approximately 1.5m setback (space for personalisation, gardening or storage) behind walls to buildings, define the public/private boundaries, and high brick walls enclose back gardens.

Apart from Little Angell's Square and the ball court, streets and mews constitute the only public spaces, and while many of these run north-south and are therefore sunny through the day, the mews run east-west and receive little sun. There are no south-facing outdoor public areas, but buildings within the scheme contribute greatly to adjoining public spaces by creating enclosure and providing surveillance. The scheme is relatively open, but physical shelter is created by bridges at mews entrances as well as by balcony projections. No seats are provided in the public areas, reducing opportunities for socialising.

Car parking spaces are arranged in small walled 'courts' at the fronts of buildings, and are overlooked by front doors and windows, reassuring owners that their vehicles are constantly supervised. These are non-allocated spaces in line with recent policy guidance, thus maximising use by various users throughout the day and night. Parking provision, mainly at the front of buildings, ensures that the fronts are well-used by car users as well as pedestrians, but although car ownership is relatively low some pavement parking still occurs.

All entrances have flat access, and the scheme is fully accessible to all. There is a good range of transport choices to and from the scheme, with two bus routes within 80m, and mainline railway and tube ten minutes away on foot. This is within the 400m accepted distance which people will walk to reach amenities rather than driving, giving the scheme points for sustainability as well as ease and choice of transport. Similarly the scheme is well connected to surrounding streets with six direct and level connections to the surrounding area.

The scheme is logically laid out and easy to understand, and pedestrian routes are all on well connected streets. Pedestrians are protected by bollards in narrow mews spaces, and flag paving on pavements demarcates main pedestrian routes, while coloured tarmac defines key pedestrian crossing points from parking areas across vehicular routes. Roads have standard kerbs and raised pavements to define vehicular routes, and bollards prevent illegal pavement parking. Traffic calming is integrated into the layout and alignment of streets, in contrast to adjacent Overton Road (outside the scheme) which features speed humps. Building alignment and design introduces restricted visibility for drivers at mews entrances, slowing traffic and improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists. No special measures exist for cycles but streets within the scheme are not busy and cyclists can safely share the streets with cars.

Buildings and public spaces are sustainable in terms of adaptability for future uses. As part of the 'Lifetime Homes' design, provision has been included in layouts for lift shafts, variations in individual units for choice between fitting an extra downstairs shower, or using for access to garden, and easy removal of internal walls. Buildings are mostly three storeys with a few of two storeys, maximising external connections and internal adaptability. Front door access allows for easy conversion for wheelchairs or pushchairs. 91% of the buildings are between 9 x 13m deep, maximising natural light, reducing energy consumption and improving solar gain. The adaptable overall layout offers potential for multiple uses, for example the walled parking spaces could be used for play and socialising.

Servicing, deliveries, refuse collection and storage are integral to the design of the development, with communal bin recesses integrated into the fronts of the buildings. The bins currently in use however are too large for the recesses provided, leading to a less than satisfactory visual effect.

The scheme is well maintained with no evidence of graffiti, litter, dog fouling or building repairs, indicating a high level of both formal and informal maintenance by the management organisation as well as a strong sense of ownership of residents. It is managed by the Estate Management Board, financed by Lambeth Council but run by the residents, giving them continued ownership and control.

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Photos

Three storey building with adjacent two storeyExternal boarding will silver with ageParking courts by front doors provide possible play or socialising spaceOversized waste binsThree storey facadeSite layoutAdjacent Victorian villa-type propertiesMaterials and colours reflecting the adjacent housingHouse fronts with doors, windows and balconies facing onto public areas

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