De Beauvoir Estate

Hackney, London

Metropolitan Workshop was shortlisted to develop proposals for an infill housing development across four sites on the De Beauvoir Estate in Hackney.

The proposal for the Downham Road site provides 72 new homes with crèche, café, local community support and workspace.

Two new residential towers are offset, an 8-storey element on the street corner provides a new gateway to the estate, which is directly bordered by open spaces to the north and west. The second taller tower steps up to acknowledge the adjacent existing 18 storey tower block. Both are then connected by a mid-rise colonnaded plinth enclosing a new communal courtyard space. New commercial uses are introduced on the Downham Road frontages of the plinth and are accessible from the public spaces.

The new development was to act as a catalyst for the future complete refurbishment of De Beauvoir estate with initial scope of work to include re-invigoration of adjacent communal gardens and public realm to provide improved play space and sport facilities for the estate.

Team: Metropolitan Workshop (Architects & Lead Consultant) / Mary Duggan Architects (Architects) / Reed Watts Architects (Architects) / Spacehub (Landscape Architects) / Walsh (Structural and Civil Engineers) / eb7 (M&E) / Peter Stewart Consultancy (Heritage) / Phil Jones Associates (Transport)

Status: Invited Competition

  1. Reinforced Edges – The northern wing aligns to existing row of terraces reinforcing street edge along Downham Road. Southern wing continues built edge of maisonette block to enclose Portelet gardens and create new focal space.
  2. Towers & Thresholds – The scale of estate built form is adopted with placement of two offset towers which provides required residential capacity, optimise aspect and negotiate overlooking constraints. Towers announce new thresholds into the estate from the north and into the gardens from the east and west.
  3. Sheltered Court – The northern and southern wings are connected along the eastern edge whilst the northern tower is trimmed and southern wing offset to further optimise aspect. The lower connective wings adopt the maisonette typology creating larger family homes with galleries overlooking a newly created sheltered court.