Five hundred affordable homes for new and existing tenants in the London Borough of Camden that put energy performance and fuel poverty top of the agenda.
Agar Grove is the largest of Camden Council’s community investment projects. It will provide 500 affordable homes for new and existing tenants, and once complete will be Passivhaus accredited promoting a ‘fabric-first’ approach to energy performance and human comfort.
Agar Grove is already a pleasant place to live, but the existing layout of the estate does not compare well to today’s principles of good design. It is inefficient, out-dated and disconnected from the wider city.
“This is considered to be an exceptional proposal which is strong in all aspects of design, from the masterplan layout right through to the detailed consideration of the doorstep experience.”
Officers report to planning committee, April 2014
The Big Idea
Working with Mae and Grant Associates, we have developed proposals in collaboration with residents for the redevelopment of the Agar Grove.
The master plan is based upon the traditional concept of ‘streets and squares’ with an emphasis on buildings which have front doors at street level, creating livable spaces between them, and allowing people to move across, through and within the site. The overarching desire is to create a place where people want to live, and contributes positively to the surrounding area.
The Small Detail
As part of the Agar Grove master plan Lulworth House will be retained, stripped back to the existing structure and intensively refurbished. The concrete structure in the building represents a significant amount of embodied carbon from its manufacture and retaining it for retrofitting is a large part of the sustainability strategy for the Agar Grove project.
The Bigger Picture
The existing pattern of dead end routes and poor connectivity will be replaced with a coherent network of streets and squares stitching it back into the local context. The streets will provide pedestrian, cycle and vehicle access to and from Agar Grove. At the heart of the scheme is a new Garden Square (Lulworth Gardens)
The planting strategy is used to strengthen the character of each space as well as providing year round colour, scent and delight. Planting has been developed to support a site wide Sustainable Urban Drainage system (SUDs), and on the roof garden a mosaic of habitat types promotes biodiversity, using species to support Camden BAP targets.
Working from the Inside Out
The new apartments will be generously sized offering a lot more area than the existing flats. In many cases balconies or ‘external rooms’ are recessed into the buildings to provide shelter and privacy. Maisonettes at ground level lift bedrooms above the street, activating the public realm with front doors and passive surveillance from kitchen windows.