A major focus of our work has been the repurposing of buildings, and sometimes whole areas, where our starting position is that wholesale demolition or removal of existing, viable facilities should be avoided. This approach has also informed our masterplanning and new build where we have developed new and hybrid building types to incorporate mixed uses.
An early example of this was our work at Colindale, which was commended by Deyan Sudjic as a new building type in its 2007 CABE review because it created a template for repurposing light industrial/ shed zones as mixed use areas. If the mix there was primarily housing and retail, the diagram was readily adapted to residential and work space when we were asked to remodel the adjacent site within the framework of our initial masterplan.
In Ilford, the challenge was to introduce new uses to a partially redundant retail and parking structure without disrupting the existing viable uses. CABE commented that ‘the complex design challenges of delivering a “community in the sky” are being handled well with innovative and sensible ideas’. It was a ground breaking solution to the development of partially redundant retail buildings that will become increasingly relevant now.
An important aspect of all these studies has been the recognition that generous green space is essential to the creation of these types of residential community and developing landscape and water attenuation strategies have been fundamental to the designs.