The new residential development for Gateway Housing Association in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets provides 32 high-grade homes across the site located near Medway Conservation Area in Bow. Highly respectful of the history and character of the local area, the FBM Architects’ carefully thought out design complements the urban and historic setting, yet, is modern and responds to the contemporary standards of living.
The new scheme, its height defined by the strong parapet line, offers a continuous three-storey frontage along Norman Grove and Saxon Road, relating to the character of the Medway Conservation Area and the locally listed Saxon Lea Court. A generous space between the two buildings on the eastern part of the development ensures a soft transition in height from three to four storeys, acting as an arrival point that provides a visual connection between the lane and the courtyard.
The building line is set back from the street, re-establishing a typical scale for the Victorian streets in the immediate neighbourhood, while successfully solving the issue of overlooking between the existing and proposed houses on Norman Grove. Ordered fenestration patterns with tall, generous window proportions further underpin the scheme’s connection with Victorian architectural legacy.
The inclusion of arched entrances to individual dwellings introduces an intimate, human-scale character that responds well to the distinctive surrounding streets that feature arched openings to windows and front doors. The ground floor apartments greatly benefit from the appealing private terraces facing onto the central courtyard. The upper floor apartments have private amenity space in the form of deep balconies that act as an extension of the adjacent rooms. Full height windows and doors further reinforce the connection between the external and internal spaces. A buff/brown coloured brickwork provides a contextual, robust appearance that unifies the scheme.
The courtyard as a green space responds to the area’s leafy nature and includes a large and welcoming child playground while a wide green strip of front gardens on Norman Grove and Saxon Road ties Regency Court to its neighbouring context. The scheme is fully car-free, given the excellent proximity to local transport links and supportive of local policy that encourages sustainable modes of transport. A dedicated cycle storage is provided within the courtyard that is accessible to all residents.