by Bell Phillips Architects
Client London Borough of Sutton
Awards RIBA London Award 2021
Ludlow Lodge is a new-build social housing development for Sutton Council providing 57 apartments for social rent in a series of five blocks around common green spaces. The blocks respond to the local vernacular of the conservation area and respect the views of the adjacent listed church.
This was the first residential project by Sutton Council in 25 years. It sought to create a building of high quality that was ‘tenure blind’, attempting to break away from the tired stigma of social housing as somehow less worthy of good design. The resulting buildings are simply and successfully detailed with both restraint and control, allowing them to sit comfortably within the varied quality of the surrounding architecture. The use of brick, coupled with more contemporary proportions and elements in the windows and roofscape, give the blocks a grounding that is both modest and welcoming.
The client was keen to make sure that the apartments themselves, while small, delivered always more than just the bare minimum. This is achieved with simple design touches that make residents feel they are getting something special. For example, each apartment has a private outdoor space, which residents have welcomed, and the common gardens, though modest, allow for younger residents to play in safety.
Budgets are always a challenge in social housing projects and here, too, difficult choices had to be made. Overall, a careful balance has been struck by using simple materials well.
Targets for environmental performance are admirable. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the design intent is working in practice, with very low heating costs for the residents, which of course is important to the brief for a development of this kind.
The project is a welcome addition to the local area, with architectural richness in simple design. This is carried through the building at every scale, from its masterplanning to the smallest details.
By raising the bar on expectations for social housing, Ludlow Lodge will have an enduring appeal both to the residents and in the community. A modesty in scale and choice of materials is coupled with contemporary detailing to create something both original and rigorous. This project speaks loud and clear of what good housing for all should look like.
Contract Value £16,100,000
Internal Area 5,277 m²
Contractor Kind and Co
Quantity Surveyor / Cost Consultant Pellings
Structural Engineers Morgan Tucker Consulting Engineers
Transport Consultant RGP
Topographical Surveyor EDI Surveys
Arboricultural Consultant Crown Consultants
Environmental / M&E Engineers Hilson Moran