Perched on the edge of the floodplain at the bottom of the Ingrebourne valley, clinging to the verge of the greenbelt between London and rural Essex, a little village has recently caught the attention of some of London’s best architects.
“It’s not hard to spot that Rainham is an amazing little place in an extraordinary context,” says Mark Brearley, head of Design for London, and enthusiastic champion of this strange piece of city. Like an outpost at the end of the world, Rainham Village sits at a powerful spatial crux, where sprawling marshland collides with a world of big box sheds and the brutal barriers of transport infrastructure. In the middle of all this, the crooked lanes of the village, winding around a Norman church and 17th century merchant’s house, lie as a precarious relic...
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Originally published in BD 19 November, 2010