Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wardroper House by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects and Arch Street by S333, Elephant & Castle, south London

Financial constraints and local politics have created an uphill struggle for S333 and Sarah Wigglesworth Architects to build decent homes for former tenants of Elephant and Castle’s Heygate Estate.
Back in 2005, certain young London architects could barely believe their luck. In an astonishingly progressive move by Southwark Council, a panel of 15 small practices was assembled to design 1,000 replacement homes for people being “decanted” from the maligned Heygate Estate, long earmarked for demolition as part of the wider Elephant & Castle regeneration.
“We wanted practices that still have a design edge, practices that haven’t moved into designing large offices, where the main design input is choosing the cladding system,” said Chris Horn, then Elephant & Castle development director at Southwark, who talked excitedly about the arrival of “14 jewel boxes” to the borough. The world was enthused.
Five years later, the project was declared to have “failed” by Fiona Colley, cabinet member for regeneration. The target of 1,000 homes has now withered to just over 500, and some of the most interesting – and actually young – offices have long since been kicked off their projects...
Read the full article here
Originally published in BD, 27 July 2011