We were appointed by St James (part of the Berkeley Group), to design Silvermills in Lewisham which provides 132 new apartments, 33% of these are affordable units within a mixture of 13 studio flats, 63 single, 47 two and 9 three bedroom apartments. Silvermills is formed of three modulated pavilions. The orientation of the pavilions reflects the existing pedestrian routes around and through the site, creating vistas within and views into the new landscaped courtyard either side of Silk Mills Path – an important connection to the town centre. Within each pavilion, internal layouts are arranged to minimise overlooking between the residential units whilst promoting passive surveillance to improve the security of the site. It’s former use as industrial premises and workshops led the surrounding buildings to ‘turn their back’ on the site; the building creates activity along Conington Road for the first time in decades, through the location of entrances to the ground floor apartments.
The brick-clad pavilions are read as volumes from both Conington Road and Silk Mills Path. The tone and texture of the brick was tested to provide a suitable transition between the predominantly white insulated render and buff brick of the adjoining Silkworks development and the darker brick of the houses to the north and east of the site. The site has good accessibility to public transport, lying close to Elverson Road station and Lewisham station, served by a number of bus routes. The development is car free with a car club bay on Conington Road. The provision of 100% cycle storage further discourages car journeys. By using air source heat pumps, the scheme meets a 20% on-site renewable contribution.
The use of brown roof construction on each building’s roof totalling an area of 983sqm improves and supports local biodiversity. Heating is provided by a biomass boiler.