The Organic Model for Development
The design question raised by new development proposals relates to the architectural character which is now appropriate to the place concerned. The different attitudes to modern methods and materials have led to two simplified positions and both these positions have led to unsatisfactory outcomes in many cases. On the one hand are those who believe that new development should simply ‘re ect its own time’ and that if it does this it is absolved from the need to defer or pay heed to its setting in any way. The argument often used in support of this position is that what shocks today no longer does so in twenty years’ time and that past radical innovations now seem part of an organic whole.
On the other hand there are those who believe that what is important is to preserve the character of the conservation area at all costs, and that this is best done by opposing all development and insisting that when it does take place it copies the architecture of existing buildings. They argue that it is the maintenance of historic character that is the reason for the designation of conservation areas and that their sole purpose should be that of preservation.
The former argument often leads to proposals or developments which show no regard for the context in which they sit and erode, rather than enrich, the character of the area as a result. The latter (a very different matter from authentic reconstruction) leads to a superficial echoing of historic features in new building, which itself erodes the character just as much.
The Right Approach
The belief underlying this statement is that the right approach is to be found in examining the context for any proposed development in great detail and relating the new building to its surroundings through an informed character appraisal.
This does not imply that any one architectural approach is, by its nature, more likely to succeed than any other. On the contrary, it means that as soon as the application of a simple formula is attempted a project is likely to fail, whether that formula consists of ‘ fitting in’ or ‘contrasting the new with the old’.
A successful project will:
-Sit happily in the pattern of existing development and routes through and around it
-Respect important views
-Use materials and building methods which are as high quality as those used in existing building
-Respect the scale of neighbouring buildings
-Create new views and juxtapositions which add to the variety and texture of the setting
This proposal aims to respect the variety of architectural styles, proportions and compositions along Brick Lane while incorporating architectural elements that could induce a certain degree of contrast.
As a result of site analysis and contextual research we have developed a design proposal for 210-212, 214 and 214a Brick Lane.
We have taken into consideration all relevant aspects regarding the aesthetic of the conservation area.
Our proposal consists of retaining the commercial ground floor units, while improving the existing residential units on the floors above. Moreover, a rear extension will be introduced at second and third floor in order to create new residential units.
This proposal will provide 10 residential units in total (2 new units and 8 partially enhanced units). All units will meet London Plan Housing Standards.
Moreover, this proposal will enable to provide cycling storage, separated refuse storage, some amenity space and landscaped zones in order to help the environment.
The new part of the building will be cladded with an outer layer of Cor-ten Brise Soleil and an inner layer of triple glazed panels. The Brise Soleil will provide shade and privacy while the triple glazed panels will enhance the thermal and acoustic performance.
Cor-Ten is a material that is richly-textured with a patina that offers a good contrast with other materials like brick, stone and lead. In a city environment it is well in older parts of downtowns where there are brick buildings.