Commissioned by a private client our Clapham North Masterplan proposal aims to create a new, vibrant, mixed use urban quarter. The project seeks to challenge the simplistic single land use designations common in much planning policy. In so doing it would transform a poorly utilised and neglected area of London; retaining essential functions for the city, while providing much needed additional work spaces and homes.
The project is currently being considered by the Greater London Authority, and a full planning application is expected to be made in 2018. The project was selected as a case study in the New London Architecture publication ‘London’s Towns – Shaping the Polycentric City’, a copy of which can be downloaded here.
The site is designated a Key Industrial and Business Area (KIBA) by the Lambeth Local Plan. This aims to ensure the provision of sites within London for strategically important functions, however, the simplistic zoning of land to protect them results in sites being poorly utilised. A more sophisticated approach to providing essential functions is necessary, one that addresses the multiple concerns and challenges that face London.
The Clapham North Masterplan proposal is a bold response to the limitations of current policies. The mono-use restriction of the current site is proposed to be replaced by a scheme that provides the following primary uses:
• KIBA type strategic uses
• Start up business / incubator work spaces
• Flexible larger work spaces / offices
• Retail / food outlets
• Affordable and market housing
• New station facilities for Clapham High Street station
• Public realm improvements
This range of uses will create a genuinely mixed-use urban quarter, with the challenges of their successful coexistence overcome by considered design.
A series of urban blocks define streets and public spaces. In order to create attractive and active streets the larger KIBA type units are ‘wrapped’ with smaller start up business spaces and retail / food outlets. This shields the less attractive uses from the street, while greatly increasing the number of jobs on site.
Above the employment spaces residential floors are arranged around garden courtyards. Each flat is proposed to be dual aspect, facing both the inner courtyard and outer street. Key to the success of a truly vibrant mixed-use development is the ability to provide flexible and varied spaces, including both privacy and openness.
New connections will ‘knit’ the new quarter into the local neighbourhood. Key to this is the provision of a new station entrance to Clapham High Street Overground Station from the heart of the development. New pedestrian links through the site and into surrounding streets will integrate what is currently a dislocated and neglected part of Clapham.