The new housing in Brent resemble the 1930s residential block.
The Stonebridge Estate in the London Borough of Brent has been comprehensively rebuilt over the last fifteen years to a masterplan by Shepheard Epstein Hunter and Terence O’Rourke. The original high-rise concrete slab blocks have been replaced block by block with two- and three-storey houses and four-storey blocks of flats set within a traditional street plan. All of the original residents who chose to stay have been rehoused in new homes, leaving a number of sites such as this available for additional development.
The borough’s PFI housing project is delivering 384 new affordable and supported homes on 13 sites identified with Hyde Housing Association, Bouygues and SEH. A range of homes was required to match the needs of the borough, from small single-bedroom flats to larger family units. Alain Court provides 31 social rented homes of which 29 are flats and maisonettes (five one-bedroom, two-person; two two-bedroom, three-person; six two-bedroom, four-person; eight three-bedroom, five-person; six three-bedroom, six-person; two four-bedroom six-person) and two are five-bedroom, eight-person three-storey houses.
The architectural language of the rebuilt Stonebridge Estate uses terraces of new houses and small blocks of flats to create streets and urban spaces, emphasising individuality and place through subtle changes in detail and materials. When all the residents had been rehoused and the regenerated community established and thriving it was judged appropriate that the additional sites, although complementary and integrated with the masterplan, should be conceived as bigger, bolder and more expressive.
The block was conceived in the masterplan as a central building sitting at the end of a pedestrian street which separates two (as yet undeveloped) sites. The design sought to maintain the regular rhythm of the nearby housing at ground floor through its doors, windows, gates and dividing boundaries but uses the upper parts of the building to create a uniform mass that wraps around the central corner of the site. Curved cantilevered balconies protrude from the elevation as monolithic interlocking forms. Walls, floors and ceilings are in-situ concrete, with electrical and heating services cast into the slab. The outer face of the concrete is rendered and faced with ceramic tiles.
The 31 social rented homes were procured by a PFI contract. The gross internal area is 3237m2, with homes from 53.9m2 to 134m2. The site area is 0.38Ha, and net density 82 dwellings/Ha. The mix comprises: five 1-bedroom 2-person homes, two 2-bedroom 3- person homes, six 2-bedroom 4- person homes, eight 3-bedroom 5-person homes, six 3-bedroom 6-person homes, two 4-bedroom 6- person homes and two 5-bedroom houses. There are 22 parking spaces within the site, rear private gardens to ground floor units and private balconies above; the scheme achieves Eco Homes Very Good.
Architect: Shepheard Epstein Hunter; project team: Alain Head, Samir Khatri (left), Tzeh Bin Cheong, Andrew Long, Craig Robertson, Pi-Lin Quek, Mode 1 Architects; m&e: Vector Design; developer: Brent Coefficient, Hyde Housing Assoc; contractor: Bouygues UK; photos: Peter Durant.
Selected suppliers and subcontractors
Windows: Velfac 200 series; roof: Liquid Plastics Decothane membrane and Decotherm insulation; render: Alsecco; external tiles: Solus; kitchens: Symphony; bathrooms: Lecico; partitions: Lafarge.
First published in AT228, May 2012