by Peter Barber Architects
Client London Borough of Camden
Awards RIBA London Award 2022 and RIBA National Award 2022 (sponsored by Forterra)
Kiln Place is an architectural statement that successfully illustrates how local authorities can provide new high-density public housing that is sensitive and does not require the demolition of existing homes. The project provides 15 new homes (seven of which are social rent in perpetuity) for the London Borough of Camden.
Peter Barber Architects were given the challenging task of producing architectural quality on the least desirable parts of the site – a parking lot, a disused plant room, and a bin store among others. Yet through architectural skill, in-depth engagement with the existing community, and sheer will of creation, the practice has managed to transform these under-utilised spaces into family homes that feel purposeful and create obvious benefits not only for those who live in them but for the wider estate in general.
The homes are designed to high energy standards and use a ‘fabric first approach’ with high performing U-values for the building’s fabric along with low air permeability. New trees and planting, as well as increased access to the open space, significantly improve the biodiversity and accessibility of the estate.
The homes themselves contain an intricate sequence of spaces to deal with the unusual site constraints, whilst setbacks and playful fenestration maximise internal daylight and create private roof terraces. The language of setbacks unifies the new architecture whilst creating shadow, scale, and producing a pleasing rhythm along the streets. The buildings have soft corners, coloured window frames, and highly articulated massing to create levity and personality which has a subtle humanising effect on the modernist-inspired estate architecture.
One of the more interesting aspects of the scheme is how the new elements, through well-observed site analysis, create benefits for the existing residents. In one instance, a new dwelling offers its roof as a terrace for an existing flat, in another instance, the new dwelling creates improved access to an existing block and green space. It is an intriguing proposition to imagine how over time these new interventions will transform their host architecture and potentially become an inspiring part of the existing community.
Internal area: 1,300.00 m²
Contractor: Neilcott Construction
Structural Engineers: MLM
Environmental / M&E Engineers: EngDesign
Quantity Surveyor / Cost Consultant: Arcadis