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A broken terrace

Part 1 Project 2009
Louis Jobst
Kingston University UK
‘Croydon has the highest population of all London boroughs, with 340,700 people and 144,100 households. The population is growing fast and projections suggest that it will rise to 367,400 by 2016, an increase of 7% since 2001, thus indicating the need for additional housing. The government has committed to building an extra 200,000 homes by 2016. The London Plan set a borough target of 1,100 additional units a year in 2008. 903 being new builds.’ (The Housing Strategy)

The centre of Croydon is due major regeneration in the near future. I have proposed a low rise-housing scheme along with a small-scale pub and venue. The project aims to create high quality low cost housing, to provide facilities for the local community and help support the areas regeneration, while demonstrating the value of sustainable design.

The site borders on the southwest boundary of the area defined as Croydon centre. It also lies within the parish church conservation area, which is situated just south of Croydon’s ancient centre. In plan the site’s geometry is ‘L’ shaped and surrounded on either side by back-to-back terraces, Howley Road and Cramner Road. The break in the terraces was a result of bomb damage in World War 11.

The scheme re-connects the existing terraces whilst also retaining the existing break. The project positions houses around a landscape that redefines the area, creating permeability within the block. A simple structural logic defines each dwelling. “…the outside may come inside, and the inside may and does go outside” (Frank Lloyd Wright). The scheme layers private and public elements, merging from interior to exterior space. This idea takes form through level change, vegetation, primary structure and an adaptable façade.

The aim of this housing scheme is not to make a grand architectural gesture, but instead to respond with sensitivity and respect to its context in which it is built. The intention is to allow for a reinterpretation of a traditional housing layout in a way that engages the community, fits in its landscape and provides a sustainable model for the future.

Louis Jobst

This project shows a remarkable sensitivity to rather mundane and generic suburban condition in which it is situated. The site is in western Croydon but in many senses it could be anywhere on the sprawling edge of London's metropolis . Located between typical London terraces, it proposes a critique of the "house" at a number of levels, most particularly by proposing a common realm of interplay between the residents and others who may approach, view, wander through or visit this place. It does this whilst proposing a serious and flexible strategy for sustainability; providing identifiable houses which combine the economies of repetition with unique and graduated external spaces; a coherent tectonic understanding visible most clearly in the student's large-scale hand drawings; and sensitivity to the mores of domestic life evinced in the variety of scale and types of space within the homes.

Mr Tim Gough

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