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  • Writer's picturenimtim architects

Have A Butcher's visual

As one of the first schemes to receive planning approval from Southwark within the Old Kent Road Opportunity Area, nimtim’s playful and contemporary building covers two complex infill sites providing 5 apartments above a proposed butcher’s shop and warehouse. The scheme sets a precedent for sensitive and thoughtful new interventions within the area.

The Old Kent Road Action Plan is to be formally adopted in early 2019 and nimtim consulted extensively with Southwark’s development and design team to ensure that the proposal conforms with the ambitions and design guidance of the new masterplan.

The site comprises an existing 2-storey Victorian shop with flat above facing onto a small high street and a long and thin industrial yard previously used as a garage and flanked by adjoined by a large warehouse building. The already complex footprint was further compromised by an awkward triangular protrusion from the adjacent warehouse building. The very awkward plan required innovative solutions to internal layouts and stair arrangements in order to achieve dwellings that satisfied London and Southwark space and access standards. The differing height and acoustic requirements of the shop and warehouse also meant that a split level solution was required for the apartments resulting in an unusual stair arrangement.

nimtim’s response to this challenging urban and planning context is a playful and contemporary building that mediates between an existing lively high street and a small cul-de-sac that will be extended as part of the are masterplan to become an important pedestrian thoroughfare in the near future.

A blended buff brick references some of the local vernacular and creates a coherent finish across the entire site. At ground level, windows onto the new shop are set back and framed with glazed white bricks providing an active and robust frontage to the street.

Above ground, large windows to the residential apartments above are playfully arranged to mediate between the differing building scales of the Victorian high street on one side and the 20th Century warehouses on the other as well as different levels within the building itself. Outdoor space is provided by large balconies at the rear and a large communal roof terrace.

Supported by an enlightened client, nimtim have designed a building that successfully resolves a complex site and a changing planning context. It bridges two very different urban conditions whilst still having a clear and bold identity of its own. The approved scheme sets a precedent for sensitive and thoughtful new interventions within the Old Kent Road Opportunity Area.

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