by Bell Phillips Architects
Client Gloriana, Thurrock Council
Awards RIBA East Award 2018
Gloriana, the regeneration arm of Thurrock Council, has already received awards for their pioneering work in providing social housing in the area. They have continued to identify underused land (often car parks) on their Council-owned estates to introduce new housing that mixes social rented, private sale and shared ownership in ‘tenure blind’ designs.
Bell Phillips have been an integral partner in this campaign, and on each of the sites they have offered thoroughly modern, innovative and generous architectural designs. The selfless efforts the architect and client have made on behalf of local people is truly impressive. All this in some of the most depressed areas of the region. These are houses that would be prized and pampered in more privileged parts of the country.
The architects have worked with very reduced means (two types of brick, 2-3 storey houses, two basic house types, lots of car parking) to create a really strong piece of urban design. This part of Tilbury has little sense of place, being mostly low-rise housing winding around the heavily industrialised docks. Bell Phillips worked hard to change the street grid to frame long views of the huge dock cranes and sheds and find a sense of place and attachment to the wider landscape. How the two and three storey terrace houses and infill courtyard houses all brought together to offer ever changing views as your move around the site is evidence of careful three-dimensional design, making the most of simple forms and finishes.
The internal layout of the flats offer wider hallways (for pushchairs) and space for a desk (homeworking or study) on the first floor landing. All of the rooms are well-lit by huge windows, that are carefully laid out to frame long views, protect privacy or give out on to private gardens and roof terraces.
There is a great deal to celebrate, and to learn, from these housing schemes in Thurrock. They could show the housebuilders a thing or two about placemaking, even in areas of low house values and little investment.
Contractor Willmott Dixon Housing
Structural Engineer JNP Group
Environmental / M&E Engineer Engineering Services Consultancy Ltd
Landscape Architect Anna French Associates
CDM Coordinator Faithorn Farrell Timms
Internal Area 12,480 m²