A north-east London apartment building by Gort Scott reinterprets local Victorian architecture
Gainsford Road is a residential development that provides affordable homes for first-time buyers in Walthamstow, north-east London. Designed by Gort Scott for developer Pocket Living, the 2900-square-metre scheme is located on a terraced residential street close to the town centre and comprises 45 one-bedroom, single-aspect apartments.
Carefully crafted, decorative local architecture, including the William Morris School that previously occupied the site, and nearby Warner Houses, informed the character of the building and its materiality, says the architect. The latter comprises fletton brick, precast coloured concrete, graphite powder-coated metalwork and bespoke hand-glazed tiling. The predominantly three-storey scheme steps down to the west to accommodate the sloping site and align more closely with the neighbouring two-storey terraces. A four-storey element incorporating a street-facing precast belvedere responds in height to the existing building on the site, announcing its communal apartment block typology.
Ground, first, second, third and fourth-floor plans
The building adopts a T-shaped plan with each floor connected by a single, oversized and centrally located staircase. Designed to maximise opportunities for occupant interaction, the entrance is accessed from the street and clearly marked by a gateway constructed from precast concrete elements. The principal wings run north-south and east-west, with private terraces opening out onto communal garden spaces occupying the remainder of the site. Privacy for the ground-floor flats on Gainsford Road is achieved through a generous front garden, incorporating dense low-level planting, that sets the units back from the street.
A key ambition from the outset was to provide quality external amenity space for every flat, explains the architect. The ground-floor units facing the street have their own private garden area, with hardy planting that requires little maintenance. Each upper floor flat has at least one Juliet balcony. There is also a large communal courtyard at the rear of the site. The entrance to the building extends the public realm within the site boundary. A bench is provided to encourage community interaction, while short stay cycle racks service visitors.
Gort Scott Architects