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Artistic rendering of a three-story urban infill residential building, featuring brick facade, large windows, black metal railings, balconies, and an entrance gate with lush greenery, set against a muted background.
Construction of 4 flats
Photo-realistic visualisation of a new, modern three-story brick apartment building with balconies and large windows, adjacent to a traditional house, reflecting a blend of contemporary and classic architecture in an urban street setting, with a parked car in the foreground.
Architectural visualisation of a contemporary brick building with textured patterns, featuring balconies with black railings, a wooden gate entrance, and lush plantings, harmonising with the residential street lined with traditional terraced houses.
Construction of 4 flats
Construction of 4 flats
Construction of 4 flats
Construction of 4 flats
Construction of 4 flats

A quartet of stylish, spacious apartments replace two undersized flats

Location

Fenton's Avenue E13

Local Authority

Newham Council

Plot Type

Urban

Project Type

New Build Flats

Accomplishment

Construction of 4 flats

Services by Urbanist Architecture

Project Architect, Planning Consultant

Challenge

If we were to give one piece of advice for anyone looking for a site to redevelop it would be this: find something that doesn’t look like it really fits on its street – and where there’s nothing positive about its oddness.

And that’s what our client had: a strange building with two flats in it that was probably meant to look like the Victorian houses that make up most of the street, but was fooling absolutely no one. It also had a random bit of parking space beside it that looked more like a vacant lot. And the rooms inside were bad too – the flats didn’t meet current space standards.

So the task was to provide additional housing that made the best use of an underperforming site and replace inadequate flats with ones that meet space requirements.

We certainly knew we could do a lot better than what was there at the moment. The question was: since there was a block of flats at the end of the street and flats across the street, would the council be willing to accept a block of flats here? If so, how big could we go? And what else could we bring to improve the street?

Before & After

Clean line drawing of an existing ground-floor plan for a small infill development project, showcasing the architectural layout with clear indications of rooms, doors, and furniture placement, suitable for design review, client presentations and local planning authorities.

Solution

In theory, the planning process is meant to involve a meaningful collaboration between people who want to build something and the local authority. In practice, that doesn’t always happen. In this case, though, the council were actively and helpfully involved through both the pre-application and application stages.

We had started off by proposing demolishing what was there and replacing it with an entirely new building. For environmental reasons, the council felt it would be better if we could incorporate some of the shell of the existing building into the new block. As we hope any responsible architectural practice would be, we were happy to respond to that challenge and came up with a design that would reuse as much of what was there as possible while creating something better in every way.

For their part, the council were willing to accept the idea that at that end of the street, houses give way to blocks of flats. So in place of the unhappy original building that did a terrible job of pretending to be a house, we were able to create something that was unashamedly a block of flats (and a rather better-looking one than its neighbours).

The final result was that instead of the original undersized pair of two-bedroom flats, there would now be one studio, two two-beds and a three-bed, all meeting space standards.

We were also able to add some much-needed biodiversity to the plot, with a green roof, bat and bird boxes. So for humans, plants, insects and animals, this is a much better place to live than it was before.

Photo-realistic visualisation of a new, modern three-story brick apartment building with balconies and large windows, adjacent to a traditional house, reflecting a blend of contemporary and classic architecture in an urban street setting, with a parked car in the foreground.

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