December 2017: “A sensitive development of social housing in Lambeth combines three new passive houses with six low energy flats delicately constructed inside an old Victorian terrace — and with the emphasis on good indoor air quality, residents are already reporting improvements in health & well-being since moving from their old accommodation.
Back in the spring, nine households received the keys to their new socialrented homes from Lambeth Borough Council. Three of these are new four-bedroom terraced houses, built to the passive house standard, and the first new social housing built by Lambeth council for ten years. The other six are low energy flats, carefully retrofitted into the two Victorian houses next door.
This development, on Akerman Road in the heart of the borough, is something of a mini shop window for Lambeth’s much wider plan to redevelop its existing estates and build 1,000 new homes to tackle the acute housing shortage in the area.
But this was not the easiest site to develop. Sitting in a conservation area, one of the existing houses has a local listing. The Victorian houses also had to be completely reconfigured from their previous use as temporary hostel accommodation, while preserving the original façades.
The new dwellings, which re-connect the existing houses to their neighbours across a vacant bombsite, also had to meet strict visual criteria. And at the same time, the development needed to be completed within a realistic local authority budget, and be robust, easy to occupy and maintain. It also had keep the occupants safe, warm and free from large fuel bills.
The design was led by Anne Thorne Architects, who had worked with Lambeth on other redevelopments. But the project was a long time in gestation, Anne Thorne partner Fran Bradshaw explains: “The redevelopment was originally planned before the 2010 election, when the government was still spending on housing.”