Thamesmead was built in the 1970s on former marshland. The development was considered an innovate approach to housing, but quickly gained a reputation for being unpleasant and unsafe. The masterplan proposes a radical change, focusing on connectivity, community and character. It will deliver a coherent community with affordable homes and new jobs, at close travel distance to the City of London.
Sense of place
Making use of the opportunities the improved transport links will bring, the first phase of the regeneration of Thamesmead evolves along the route from Abbey Wood Crossrail station in the south to Southmere Lake in the north, providing an enlivened sequence of streets and squares to create an improved sense of place.
Active frontages for commercial, retail and leisure spaces create a mixed use area with a high quality public realm, activating the lakeside and improving the experience of the surrounding landscape. The mix of uses, different types of dwellings, and public space enrich the community, bringing a distinct character to each of the four development areas of the plan.
Four principal design elements
The scheme is defined by four principal design elements. Firstly, Southmere Lane, which runs parallel to Harrow Manorway, meandering across the urban grid and offering a safe and logical route for cyclists and pedestrians. Secondly, the grouping of apartment buildings and terraced houses around raised shared courtyards to create smaller communities within the neighbourhood.
Thirdly, squares that acts as neighbourhood focal points and landmark buildings that will be visible from a wide area, accentuating specific townscape moments. And finally, linking the larger landscape elements surrounding South Thamesmead, and creating new connections that reinforce the main pedestrian routes.
The Civic Quarter
The Civic Quarter occupies a large site on the edge of Southmere Lake and is the first area of Thamesmead to be regenerated. A new Civic Square will act as the focal point for local residents and visitors, and restore community facilities.
Building ensembles define the edges of the square. While each of the ensembles have their own distinctive character and style, they are tied together through a uniform articulation in building height and rhythm. The predominant material is brick, adding a warmer feel to the existing concrete buildings which will be carefully integrated into the new scheme.
The development contains a broad range of dwelling sizes from one bedroom units to four bedroom townhouses. The majority of apartments have dual aspect, with private balconies designed to maximize views and exposure to natural light. The apartment buildings and terraced houses are grouped around raised shared courtyards that form the green heart of each building ensemble. Source by Mecanoo Architecten.
- Location: London, United Kingdom
- Masterplan: Mecanoo Architecten and Proctor and Matthews
- Client: Peabody
- Area: 9.86 ha
- Housing units: 1,500
- Mixuse: 10,000 square metres of commercial, retail and leisure space, and public realm
- Design: 2015 – 2016
- Realisation: 2017 – 2021
- Images: Courtesy of Mecanoo Architecten