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Bourbon Lane

contributed by 323 World Architecture Festival , 15 June 2009


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Description Bourbon Lane:

Octavia Housing and Care’s innovative Bourbon Lane affordable housing scheme in West London was the result of an international competition run by CABE and won by Cartwright Pickard Architects in partnership with French practice B+C Architectes. The scheme provides 78 much needed affordable homes for families and key workers – 45 for rent and 33 for shared ownership. The homes range in size from 1 bedroom apartments to 5 bedroom family houses.

Design Challenges
The development occupies a previously run-down brownfield site that was occupied by a large disused exhibition building originally constructed for the 1908 London Olympics on ground that was largely contaminated and required remediation. The site lies between a major new retail development and a mixed fabric of low rise Victorian and Edwardian terraced housing, some of which is listed.

The differing scale and juxtaposition of the neighbouring properties and the awkward shape of the site meant that a ‘traditional street’ layout would have created a number of disadvantages. It was a significant design challenge to achieve an efficient layout and to sensitively integrate the new homes with the existing housing to the south, and to address the difference in scale with the massive £1bn retail centre to the north.

Architectural Features
The development comprises a series of eight timber clad blocks up to five storeys in height following the northern edge of the site and providing a succession of mews spaces between, alternated with private gardens. At second and third floor levels cut outs within the buildings allow for private roof gardens on the upper floors. Each block has its own identity, achieved with the bold use of colour, from a strong and bright palette. The pedestrian-friendly access road is ‘over-sailed’ by dramatic cantilevers that create a ‘porte cochere’ over the main entrance to each block and help integrate the scheme with the landscape.

Design Philosophy and Layout
The building forms have been designed to integrate with the existing residential properties, and to create an interesting, attractive and thriving neighbourhood, without the appearance of conventional social housing.

The new buildings have simple geometric forms and are perpendicular to the shopping centre perimeter wall. The homes maximise the potential of the site by creating double aspect dwellings, which are oriented to receive morning and afternoon sun. All the dwellings have either a garden, generous roof terrace or balcony.

Each home benefits from good levels of natural light and ventilation, some have double height living areas. The spaces between the buildings are generally south facing, and provide quiet and secure places with high quality landscaping.

Photograph by Morley Von Sternberg

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Information Bourbon Lane:

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London, United Kingdom

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