Dorchester Parade, Lambeth
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Rodić Davidson Architects were commissioned to design a 7-storey mixed-use residential building in Dorchester Parade along Leigham Court Road, sitting within the Streatham Hill Conservation Area in Lambeth.
Our proposal seeks to replace three disused buildings with 18 apartments, with the top two storeys set back from the main road, to reduce its visual impact. Our developer Client desired a scheme that optimised the vast potential of the existing site, whilst being of a high standard of finish for commercial interest. A key aspect of our initial brief from the Client was to develop a scheme that preserves the existing buildings’ use of Class E at ground floor, but with a more with a more contemporary design to suit a bustling high street typology. Our design significantly improves upon the three residential units it presently offers at first floor, directly responding to a local need for additional housing in the London borough.
The approved scheme marks a significant increase of 7 additional units upon an initial application that we previously gained consent for on the same site, in 2021, which comprised of 11 apartments across 5 storeys. The previously consented scheme proposed an internal floor area of 1085sqm (11683 sqft), with our approved scheme achieving a combined internal area of 1955sqm (21050 sqft), providing an 80% increase in footprint on our initial proposal, maximizing the potential of the site.
During our design development of this project, the RDA team worked with an iterative process, through extensive testing of various proposed massing configurations in response to pre-application advice from councilors and input from the wider consultant team. This collaborative approach led us to arrive at the most appropriate and viable scheme to suit our Client – whom we have worked with on several successful developments previously. Their brief further instructed us to employ a sensitive approach towards the landscaping and biodiversity strategy for the project, helping to soften the outward appearance of the residential building within the Streatham Hill Conservation Area.
The proposed material palette of the street-facing facade consists of a light, terracotta brick, with sections of undulating patterned brickwork to separate the openings from first to fifth floor. The proposed sixth and seventh floors that sit above the preceding levels are contemporary in appearance and gently recessed from street level, with terrace planting, providing a pleasing outlook at street level passersby and the residents opposite.
The rejuvenated Class E space at ground floor level improves upon the general appearance of the high street within the Streatham Hill Conservation Area, whilst being an attractive commercial opportunity to local businesses. At committee meeting in early 2024, Lambeth council decided that the scheme would be granted consent and welcomed the preservation of commercial space as a positive attribute, contributing to the existing vibrant high street along the site and the adjacent Streatham High Road:
‘This replacement provision has been accepted by the officers as the commercial space remains attractive to a variety of potential occupants. The minor reduction in floorspace is primarily to accommodate two staircases for fire safety reasons for the new residential units, as well as facilities for refuse and cycle storage.’
The planning officer further commented on the suitability of the scheme in terms of its benefit to the wider area and its alignment of height when compared alongside neighbouring buildings of similar use:
‘The new building would be of high quality design, with appropriate height, scale and massing for the local context. There would be no resulting harm to the conservation area’s character or appearance.’