Ian Ritchie Architects

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Elephant Lane

Elephant Lane: Masterplan

The project is a model for urban development which respects the need for the individual garden and privacy. It knits into the physical area an urban solution, not a suburban scenario, and responds to the ‘green park’ and docklands’ edges bordering the site. The scheme conceptually captures the spirit of both in its physical design and its social spatial ideas which provide space for living, working and playing. There are four specific spatial concepts in the design:

1. The tapering ‘street’ and its focus N-S.

2. The ‘pavilion squares’ –cross routes linking Rotherhithe to the park.

3. The individual private garden.

4. The public Riverside Arena and walk.

The architectural design and organisation of the buildings engages with the traditional language of the river edge with the demands of domestic scale; the calmness of the Japanese landscape with the traditional layered English landscape of field (King Stairs Garden); hedgerow (site boundary treatment) and woodland (Southwark Park) and reinterprets them through the street and landscape in a way which places high importance on the quality of the facades of the housing which create the street environment. The development density and physical scale reflects the focus of the scheme, and increases towards the river. The site boundary is walled and planted, but frequently punctuated by public routes reflecting but also breaking the notion of the 19th century dock walled enclosures. The project was designed in 1983 as a competition submission to the London Docklands Development Corporation. It was placed second.

Elephant Lane

London, UK

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