We were approached by a residential developer to assess a brownfield site in Kensington, which has been vacant since the demolition of a local nightclub, leaving a noticeable gap on the road. The developer tasked us with investigating the feasibility of infilling the vacant site with apartments, comprising a mix of studio, one bedroom and two-bedroom units.
Since the nightclub was demolished, there have been a number of planning applications that have not come to fruition. These include a successful application in 2018 for 35 student accommodation bedrooms in eight cluster flats and an application for 28 Grade II sheltered accommodation units, which was submitted and later withdrawn.
The street contains a vastly eclectic mix of housing, ranging from brightly coloured two-storey Victorian terraces to grander white rendered Georgian properties. Although buildings are primarily residential, there is also a diversity in nearby buildings, with some light industry located to the south and a retail outlet to the north.
A common feature we identified in previous applications was a disjointed feeling of each scheme. Our proposal sought to integrate the new intervention more confidently and seamlessly, while still embedding itself within the existing urban grain of the road.
Our concept design was informed by both previous applications and the analysis of architecture surrounding the site. One consideration was the height of the proposed scheme, which is comparative to previous applications, but features a step down to transition into the neighbouring residential terraces more respectfully and also fully fill the gap left in previous designs, which separated the building from its surroundings.
We recommended a scheme that housed 17 apartments inside a footprint of 317 square foot, across four storeys. To allow maximum flexibility when deciding on unit types, the floorplans for each apartment size were designed to work within a set module size.
The concept design also maintained access to the garden at the rear, which could be used by all residents and visitors alike. Two ground floor terraces for use by residents of the adjacent flats were also proposed, along with an internal cycle story, six car parking bays and landscaping to accommodate car parking spaces adjacent to the road.