The visual and tactile qualities of this residential scheme are informed by the role that each surface plays in the overall composition and its proximity to touch.
The ‘wild urban and formal’ pieces of the wall are smooth and transparent to the park, and rough opaque and visually solid to the roads. Both of these vertical surfaces are softened strategically by landscape at places where people are in close proximity. The solid wall is punctuated by small deeply recessed windows and the transparent surfaces completely openable to allow the living spaces to become part of the park.
The balconies in front are of three types, each visually and materially responding to the notion of wild, urban and formal, and each with its own distinctive scale and detail qualities.
The sentinels’ vertical surfaces, as guardians of the public highway, will be warm in colour and scale. Each has its small ‘look-out’ balcony.
The horizontal surfaces of the scheme, in the human context, relate to the elements that make the surface of the ground, and from the traditional surfaces associated with the highway move through the wall to become exciting components in the composition of the spatial trilogy, giving a potentially enjoyable range of both visual and tactile experiences.
The design was an architectural competition submission to Thamesmead Town in 1987.