Lambeth Council set the challenge for this project: to build, fund and manage a 30-apartment scheme to wheelchair standards for the frail and elderly, all without funding assistance. Metropolitan Housing Trust and Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects came up with a solution based on developing for-sale housing to provide the cross subsidy to fund generous, high quality, sheltered homes that could be let at affordable rent. As if that wasn’t enough, the scheme also includes retail and office space.
Beneath the sheltered apartments at ground floor level are communal facilities, including a dining room, living room, catering kitchen and hair salon. So far, so conventional. It is the design of the apartments that breaks with tradition.
The scheme has been designed to feel like a home rather than an institution. Corridors are conspicuous by their absence. Here are simply generously sized apartments with balconies, and floor to ceiling glazing – the latter not only a matter of style but an essential where residents may be unable to stand to admire the view. With their stylish timber cladding, they could be targeted at upwardly mobile young professionals, as in fact, their private sale counterparts were. These homes are desirable, and accessible for all.