The project is designed around the theme of linked green spaces. Broken up form separated by mature planting, the inclusion of ecology routes, places for residents to interact and for different ages to live together is the hall mark of this scheme. Carefully considered materials and detailing will contribute to its success.
jmarchitects were commissioned by Optivo, (formally Viridian HA) to assist with their bid to buy the land owned by the Pocklington Trust at 74 Alton Road. The sensitive nature of this process ran in tandem with the Pocklington Trust making suitable arrangements for the remaining residents in the partially empty, specialist elderly care scheme for people with impaired sight. The existing buildings completed in 1962 consisted of 16x 1 & 2 bed flats with support facilities on a sloping, yet square site, set out as a quadrangle over 3 floors. The site itself sits on the edge of the Alton Estate conservation area and is separated from Richmond Royal Park, by a listed wall and Ha-ha.
The brief was to deliver a mixed scheme of extra care facilities and affordable housing and to achieve planning consent at 84 units or more, designed to the Housing LIN specialist care guidelines. Because the residents in the existing scheme were in part Wandsworth tenants and the nominations for the new scheme would be 100% Wandsworth nominations, the boroughs housing team took a pivotal role in compiling the brief. The design team, housing team, and OT evaluated likely occupant care need and visited recently completed schemes in Wandsworth, Greenwich, and Mitcham to ensure this that lessons learnt were recorded in the Soft Landings case book for the project.
The scheme centres around a main access point from Alton Road, with 3 residential pavilions arranged around a central courtyard on a landscaped podium, that mediates the 3m level change across the site. The access route promotes self-surveillance, activity and interest ensuring that the diverse community of elderly residents, families and working age residents interact. The shared courtyard promotes interaction by being the heart of the development. The limited size of the 3 blocks ensures double aspect in most situations; excellent daylight, natural ventilation, inset balconies to protect against solar gain and the maximisation of the views towards the park were key drivers.
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