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​The Echoes

by Bell Phillips Architects

Client Thurrock Council Housing Department
Awards RIBA East Awards 2017

© Kilian O'Sullivan

It is good to see such a high quality housing scheme sponsored by a local authority. This is Thurrock’s first development in an ambitious new housing programme and the architect was involved from the start in advising on potential sites. Such a close collaboration between architect and local authority has been rewarded with a bold architectural response.

The site is triangular and sandwiched between railway track and access road. The layout of the three blocks makes the most of the context by reinforcing the urban form of the street, creating a courtyard at the rear and providing all flats with southerly or westerly views. These are entered off the gated courtyard which is accessed via a ramp and steps that fit neatly between two of the blocks. The roof profile varies along the length of the street which means that height can be gained without being oppressive to the street below. However the most distinctive feature is the triangular balconies, the majority of which face south with a few having breathtaking views over buildings to the Thames beyond. These work well viewed from the outside and are generous to use, adding a lightness of touch. They relate to living spaces that are on the south side with bedrooms predominantly facing north so all flats are double aspect.

The level of brickwork detailing is exceptional and considerable attention has gone into junctions, soffits and jambs to give a robust high quality building. Equally the balconies are cleverly detailed offering some transparency but also concealing day-to-day clutter from the outside.

This is an impressive addition to Thurrock’s housing stock that has met the challenges of an awkward site in a playful and imaginative way.

Contractor Willmott Dixon
Structural Engineers Morgan Tucker
Environmental / M&E Engineers Atkins
Landscape Designer Anna French Associates
Sustainability/ Code Assessor Atkins
Arboricultural Impact Assessment D F Clark Bionomique

© Kilian O'Sullivan
© Kilian O'Sullivan
© Kilian O'Sullivan
© Kilian O'Sullivan
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