Balham

BD AYA Winner

9th March 2017

We are very excited to have won Building Design's Architect of the Year Award 2017 in the masterplanning and public realm category.

We were shortlisted alongside Karakusevic Carson Architects, JTP, Fletcher Priest, Hawkins Brown, Adams & Sutherland, HTA and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands.

Our entry included public realm improvements in Balham, and a five-year delivery plan for the regeneration of Swindon’s town centre. Now complete, the Balham project included a collaboration with artist Tod Hanson and has resulted in increased footfall and new shops. In Brixton, we are delivering a masterplan for the regeneration of Somerleyton Road for Lambeth council.

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Balham High Road...

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Rethinking Housing and the Home

Rethinking Housing and the Home

5th September 2016

Architect and planner Dhruv Sookhoo is Metropolitan Workshop’s Researcher in Residence, and a visiting lecturer at Newcastle University.  He is presenting a paper at the Cultural Significance of Place’s seminar on September 14th in Newcastle, which considers the social role of housing and the home.

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NLA Award Winner

NLA Award Winner

14th July 2016

Somerleyton Road won the NLA Awards unbuilt Housing category, presented at the ceremony at the Guildhall in London on 7th July. Somerleyton Road which is being designed with Haworth Tompkins, Mae Architects, Zac Monro Architects and Foster Wilson Architects for LB Lambeth, Ovalhouse, Brixton Green and igloo regeneration was a winner in the Housing sector. The annual New London Architecture Awards celebrate the best architecture and development in design or recently completed across the capital.

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Ethics of Estate Regeneration

Ethics of Estate Regeneration

9th June 2016

Architect and planner Dhruv Sookhoo is Metropolitan Workshop’s Researcher in Residence, and a visiting lecturer at Newcastle University.  Here he writes about estate regeneration.

Participation through design
Fostering greater participation through the design process increases architects’ opportunity to mediate between the claims of residents who want change, those resisting change and the needs of potential new neighbours. There are lessons to be learnt from community planning that has long aspired to shift the focus from consultation on preset development options to community participation, as a means of framing development decision-making and establishing a shared vision for regeneration.

Meaningful resident participation requires investment in training and capacity building. Neil Deely of Metropolitan Workshop says: “Holding back information is counterproductive to building trust. It’s far better for architects working on contentious regeneration projects to invest time with residents and clients, so that both understand the options, provide useful feedback and become a team. Given the right information residents will generally work collaboratively.”

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Lakehouse published in onOffice

Lakehouse published in onOffice

5th May 2016

This 1980s office block in Romford has been invigorated thanks to plywood, and some imaginative application. We wanted to create a more flexible, open and informal working environment for energy support services company Lakehouse. The space has been stripped back and given a neutral palette peppered with flashes of bright yellow, giving visual prominence to a series of plywood interior structures and furniture, which break up the now open-plan space. Built from birch-faced ply panels and fin louvres, the material brings with it a contemporary, calm and bright feel, and also connects with the company.

“Unfinished plywood has a strong resonance with construction, and therefore Lakehouse’s business,” says project architect Edward Rhodes, “as well as the clean, crisper workspace environment we wanted to create.” Other construction-themed materials were considered, says Rhodes, such as glass-reinforced cement, but this has a more polished appearance and is more expensive, he explains, whereas ply was more adaptable, lighter in colour, and more sustainable.

Timber louvres tie the whole scheme together, starting in reception where the desk is clad in a recurring pattern of planks, and a double-height waiting and meeting area is also wrapped in them. This screens the space, offering separation and partial privacy without blocking views and light across the building. The louvres also help to filter light from some windows; they are used as baffles above the central staircase; and have created semi-private booths for small meetings. The decision to use ply has given a distinct identity to the communal areas particularly, and encouraged staff to move around and make their workday more varied.

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New Year, New Promotions

New Year, New Promotions

20th January 2016

Metropolitan Workshop are committed to ensuring the continuing success of the Practice and recognise the contribution that members of the senior team have made. Associates Jonny McKenna, Tom Mitchell, Nick Phillips and Edward Rhodes have been promoted to Associate Director.  In recognition of the extra responsibility that he has taken on and his commitment to the ethos of the practice, Luke Dewey has been promoted to Associate.

We look forward to their involvement at a more strategic level as the Practice evolves and grows. This is part of a wider ambition to create more opportunities for all staff to gain experience, develop their skills and progress through the office.


Somerleyton Road granted planning

Somerleyton Road granted planning

18th December 2015

Lambeth Council, Ovalhouse Theatre, and Brixton Green have just been granted planning approval by Lambeth Borough Council for a major regeneration scheme in central Brixton. The Somerleyton Road project is a linear 1.7 ha site that will bring 304 new homes for rent by local people, a mix of community facilities and a purpose built home for the Ovalhouse Theatre.

igloo is acting as development manager delivering the Somerleyton Road project on behalf of the partnership. Metropolitan Workshop is the lead architect. To create architectural variety, architects Haworth Tompkins, Mæ Architects, Foster Wilson and Zac Monro Architects have also been appointed to deliver individual buildings within Metropolitan Workshop’s overall plan. The plan proposes a family of buildings that work together to create an engaging streetscape that responds to the local area. Tibbalds are providing planning advice and Gross.Max. landscape.

Lambeth Council, which owns the majority of the land is choosing to act as its own developer, meaning the focus can be on building affordable homes and a thriving local community rather than making a profit.

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NLA Ideas for Housing London

NLA Ideas for Housing London

16th September 2015

Pocket Regen has been shortlisted as one of 100 ideas that will be on display in a free public exhibition in The Building Centre from 15 Oct to 17 Dec, examining London’s housing crisis.

Working with Pocket Living, Pocket Regen presents an alternative estate regeneration strategy, that provides a better offer to existing residents, and other stakeholders, than the received logic of demolish and rebuild. The intention is that the new model utilises a bottom-up approach to estate regeneration, offering residents compelling incentives and choice. Key to the idea’s success will be the ‘alignment of incentives’ across all key stakeholders – Residents, LA, GLA, etc.

The solution is both architectural and financial. Physically, proposals will investigate incremental intensification of estates to improve legibility and coherence, enhance existing stock and deliver new housing. Enabling ownership opportunities – in keeping with the Pocket philosophy will be part of the offer. The starting aspiration is that all of the homes created are affordable, and no private investment will be required.

Ten winning ideas, selected by a distinguished jury, will be announced in mid October, with winners invited to join a GLA working group to examine how their ideas can be applied to real London sites to deliver future housing for the capital.

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Mapleton wins New London Award 2015

Mapleton wins New London Award 2015

7th July 2015

Mapleton Crescent in Wandsworth Town Centre for affordable housing developer Pocket Living has won a New London Award 2015 (category – unbuilt housing : WINNER).

Metropolitan Workshop’s detailed design is for a 24-storey tower including 63 one-bed, one-person intermediate affordable homes and 23 larger for sale apartments on a constrained site on Mapleton Crescent in Wandsworth town centre.

The facades feature three different kinds of green pleated ceramic panel. High-quality shared amenity spaces, rooftop gardens, shared balconies and a riverside terrace will help build community and social interaction in the scheme.

Client: Pocket Living
M&E: Mendick Waring
Structures: Clancy
Highways: TPP
Planning: Rolfe Judd

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Awards shortlisting season

Awards shortlisting season

3rd July 2015

We are very pleased to announce that we are currently shortlisted for four national awards.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour Masterplan is shortlisted for an RTPI Award (Excellence in Planning to Create Economically Successful Places) – results announced 6 July.

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Mapleton Crescent (Housing) and Somerleyton Road (Masterplan & Area Strategies) are shortlisted for a New London Award – results announced 7 July.

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Barchester Street is shortlisted for a Housing Design Award – results announced 13 July.

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Fresh Wharf granted planning

Fresh Wharf granted planning

29th May 2015

Planning permission was recently granted for for 911 homes at Fresh Wharf Quay in Barking for Countryside Properties. Our scheme made a series of detailed amendments to an existing 2011 outline planning consent under the section 73 procedure.

The 2011 scheme was analysed and ‘unpacked’ to establish the key design objectives and improvements in height, scale, massing and public realm maintain and improve the development principles established while enhancing the financial viability of the proposals for Countryside.

The key principle of a central open space surrounded by residential buildings was maintained and a more generous and less overshadowed public realm is achieved through and overall height reduction and opening up of views to the water.

Our design amendments achieved the following benefits for our client:

  • Overall the height of the scheme was reduced to between 3 and 15 storeys (from 21 storeys) thus reducing over shadowing and improving viability.
  • – The riverside walk became a more generous and less overshadowed area of public realm.
  • Stronger connections between the Central Park and Riverside were established.
  • More accommodation was provided enjoying waterside views commanding higher values.
  • All accommodation adjacent to the A406 was orientated to enjoy views towards the central park rather than the main road.
  • Building blocks were are reconfigured and rationalised to improve the schemes viability and constructibility (eg reduction of transfers structures and increased unit per core ratio).
  • Reconfiguration of car parking, now at ground and lower ground floor, no basement level. Basement level car park was removed.
  • The energy strategy proposes a combination of a CHP energy centre and PV cells, achieving a 35% reduction in CO2. A total of approximately 16,475sqm of open space.

CDW2015 MoL moves to Smithfield

CDW2015 MoL moves to Smithfield

21st May 2015

About three years ago we had the idea to relocate the Museum of London to the Smithfields General Market site, both owned buy the Corporation of London.

This will regenerate the market, giving the MOL a more public presence and freeing up their current site for more appropriate development. As part of CDW2015 we commissioned artist Melodie Orchison to celebrate this idea in our window.

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Latest Newsletter-May 2015

Latest Newsletter

21st May 2015

Latest News from Metropolitan Workshop.

  • Pocket plans ‘pleated’ tower in Wandsworth
  • Fresh ideas for countryside in Barking
  • Building a vision in Lambeth
  • RTPI Award short-listing for Dún Laoghaire Harbour Masterplan
  • Boutique hotel for the Isle of Man

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Pocket plans pleated tower

Pocket plans ‘pleated’ tower

8th May 2015

A planning application for affordable housing developer Pocket Living’s largest scheme to-date has been submitted to the London Borough of Wandsworth.

Metropolitan Workshop’s detailed design is for a 24-storey tower including 63 one-bed, one-person intermediate affordable homes and 23 larger for sale apartments on a constrained site on Mapleton Crescent in Wandsworth town centre.

The facades feature three different kinds of green pleated ceramic panel. High-quality shared amenity spaces, rooftop gardens, shared balconies and a riverside terrace will help build community and social interaction in the scheme.

Client: Pocket Living
M&E: Mendick Waring
Structures: Clancy
Highways: TPP
Planning: Rolfe Judd

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Plot Architects Appointed

Plot Architects Appointed

30th April 2015

A ground breaking community right-to-build project in Brixton has reached a key milestone with the appointment of the Plot Architects. They are Haworth Tompkins, Foster Wilson, Mae, Metropolitan Workshop and Zac Monro. Neil Vokes of LB Lambeth said ‘With a creative and collaborative design approach, and a team of urban designers, planners, cultural curators and a range of architects to achieve design variety, we will deliver a great new place.’

The site in Brixton is earmarked for commercial uses, a new theatre and 300 homes. Originally Victorian housing and settling place of the Windrush community, the street was redeveloped in the 1970s as part of an unrealised masterplan to reconstruct the entire district around a later abandoned new motorway system. The site is currently occupied by a temporary school and light industrial units.

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Boutique hotel for the Isle of Man

Boutique hotel for the Isle of Man

10th April 2015

Developer Dandara has appointed Metropolitan Workshop, following an invited competition, to design a boutique hotel and high quality new homes to replace a complex of existing buildings at the northern end of the Langness Peninsular near Castletown on the Isle of Man.

The site’s dramatic natural setting and archaeological significance require a sensitive form and our proposals establish a strong relationship with the topography and heritage.

Client: Dandara
Landscape: Gross Max


RTPI Award Shortlisting

RTPI Award Shortlisting

1st April 2015

Metropolitan Workshop’s Dún Laoghaire Harbour Masterplan has been shortlisted in the category for ‘Excellence in Planning to Create Economically Successful Places’ in the 2015 Planning Awards for Excellence. The Awards are organised by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), who have run the Award for the last 30 years to recognise excellence in planning worldwide.

Winners will be announced at the Pullman, London, St Pancras on 6 July. Watch this space!

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Westbury Estate Community Consultation

Westbury Estate Community Consultation

13th March 2015

Metropolitan Workshop, Social life and Lambeth Council held an exhibition on Saturday 28th Feb and Monday 2nd March, showing initial feedback from residents about their experience of living on the Westbury Estate, as well as some preliminary ideas for what new housing in the area might look like.

The day involved estate walkabouts, which were a great opportunity for the design team to explain our approach and receive really useful observations from residents.

We met with around 80 people and it was great hearing feedback on the ideas shown.


Affordable homes approved in Poplar

Affordable homes approved in Poplar

13th February 2015

Metropolitan Workshop has received planning permission for the redevelopment of 83 Barchester Street, Poplar, London E14 for Canary Wharf Group. The scheme is for 115 new affordable homes on the site of former industrial buildings in the Limehouse Cut Conservation Area.

The site is occupied by a 1939 factory building and a 1956 warehouse which were both last in use as a document storage facility. Three new buildings and retained elements of the existing buildings will enclose a new communal yard space.

A new six-storey building will replace the former warehouse building and new four and five storey elements are set within the existing walls of the factory. The distinctive saw-tooth profile of the factory is echoed in the new roof profile as a series of spines that successively step up from Balladier Walk and Barchester Street.

The new elevations are composed primarily of brickwork which include recessed stretchers and cross motifs which reference the existing Festival inspired architecture on the adjacent Lansbury estate. A new link building connects creates a threshold to the central landscaped yard.

The new homes are part of Canary Wharf Group’s affordable housing commitment which will be part of its new development phase.

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New Homes at Glengall Quay

New Homes at Glengall Quay

16th January 2015

Plans for a mixed use development at Glengall Quay on the Isle of Dogs have been unveiled. The focal point is a 45-storey tower, with two 15-storey buildings by Metropolitan Workshop, looking onto Millharbour. A community space of over 40,000 sq ft will include meeting, educational, and healthcare facilities, serving family sized apartments, one and two-bed flats, and affordable housing. A planning application has been submitted to LB Tower Hamlets.

Tameric Investments is leading the redevelopment scheme. Their portfolio manager Ed Horgan said, “We have focussed on giving back to the community as much as we can. We are opening up green land. Over an acre of the site will be for community use. This is a cracking area which has changed enormously over the past 10 years and is going to continue to do so.” There will also be a community cafe, a first-floor terrace with pocket parks, podium gardens and a recreational dockside space with improved access and views across the waterfront and along the quayside.


Gingerbread Advent Calendar

Gingerbread Advent Calendar

5th December 2014

The Metropolitan Workshop Gingerbread Advent Calendar, which is displayed in our shop window on Cowcross Street has been an annual tradition since 2005. Every year friends and colleagues create a gingerbread artwork on a theme. This year, the theme is ‘Christmas Hit Singles’ ordered by ascending number of sales. A new gingerbread creation is unveiled each day from behind a coloured door. Passers by are invited to guess which Christmas single they have been inspired by.

Entries are tweeted daily.

Happy Christmas from all at Metropolitan Workshop!


Building Support, Improving Lives

Building Support, Improving Lives

26th November 2014

As part of working towards their target of 1,000 new homes at Council rent, LB Lambeth has recently earmarked the Westbury Estate near Wandsworth Road for improvements. Metwork have been appointed as lead consultant for a Residents Engagement and Urban Design Study that aims to identify a Brief and Vision for the Estate.

The fabric of the estate consists of two main typologies – towers and low rise blocks – so residents have very different experiences of life there. Benefits such as improving the housing stock and public realm will be assessed for viability and tested with the residents for acceptability and support.

Working with Social Life, BWA, XCO2 and Maddox Associates, Metwork will generate concept designs for discussion and provide a sounding board to air views, hopes and ambitions.


Housing Study Trip to Amsterdam

Housing Study Trip to Amsterdam

21st November 2014

Recently the whole office visited Amsterdam to learn more about the latest housing and regeneration projects taking place there.

Day 1 highlights included

  • Het Funen (565 dwellings in a pedestrianised parkland setting).
  • Individually designed housing on Borneo and Sporenburg within a coordinated masterplan and design code.
  • KNSM containing ‘super blocks’ of lots of individual homes and apartments, along a central avenue, mimicking the organisation of the island’s former warehouses and storage building.
  • Java Island, includes four small canals with post-modernist canal houses from various architects, cycle and pedestrian bridges.
  • Westerdok and Ijdok, dense apartments in the centre of Amsterdam.

Day 2 highlight

  • Ijburg, six of ten proposed islands have been built and when complete will comprise a neighbourhood of 18,000 homes for 45,000 residents and employment for 12,000 people. As well as homes, schools, and shops; leisure centres, restaurants, a beach, and a cemetery are planned.

We arrived back at Cowcross Street fully inspired if a little saddle sore after two days on the bike.


Fresh Wharf, Barking

Fresh Wharf, Barking

14th November 2014

Metropolitan Workshop have just lodged a section 73 application for 911 homes at Fresh Wharf Quay in Barking. The application makes a series of amendments to an existing outline planning application designed by others and granted permission in 2011.

The challenge was to create a more financially viable proposition for the client through improvements in the overall height, scale, massing and public realm without affecting the overriding development principles already established.

The design amendments have achieved the following benefits:

  • Reduction in height
  • Landmark tall building at the north of the site
  • Generous riverside walk
  • Stronger connections between Central Park and riverside
  • More accommodation enjoys waterside views
  • All accommodation next to the main road enjoys views towards the central park
  • Acoustic function of western buildings retained
  • Building blocks reconfigured and rationalised
  • Overall reduction in units to 908
  • No basement level car parking
  • CHP energy centre and PV cells achieve 35% CO2 reduction
  • A total of 16,575sqm of open space
  • Acoustic buffer retained

Client : Countryside Properties
Masterplanner : Metropolitan Workshop
Engineering : Environ UK Ltd
Landscape : Townshend Landscape Architects


Latest Newsletter-Nov 2014

Latest Newsletter

6th November 2014

Latest News from Metropolitan Workshop.

  • Canary Wharf plans affordable homes in Limehouse
  • Enjoying the countryside in Barking Creek
  • New drama in Somerleyton Road
  • Pocket picks town centre site
  • RIBA/Wates private rented sector winners
  • Sir Richard MacCormac : A tribute

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On Site at Balham High Road

On Site at Balham High Road

23rd July 2014

To help stimulate economic and environmental regeneration in Balham’s town centre, Metropolitan Workshop has been developing an urban design strategy for Balham High Road, in south London. Won in a competition staged by Wandsworth Council and The Balham Partnership, and supported by the Mayor of London, the scheme comprises four projects – enhancing the railway bridge environment to increase footfall and unlock the potential of the areas adjacent to it; public realm improvements to Hildreth Street to make it a vibrant market and café strip; public realm improvements to Balham Community Space; and a creative solution to the ‘Ugly Wall’ – a prominent but unattractive flank wall that has huge potential to help link together Balham’s public spaces, promote Balham’s identity and encourage visitors to explore Balham.

The scheme has an overriding material and art strategy which links all the projects together helping to enhance Balham’s identity. It is currently on site.

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Joint winners – Wates/RIBA Competition

Joint winners – Wates/RIBA Competition

29th November 2013

The Wates/RIBA Housing in the Private Rental Market competition sought to explore what a specifically designed privately rented suburban neighbourhood might look like.

“Our team are absolutely delighted to be joint winners of the Wates/RIBA competition, which we feel has made an important contribution to the debate around the UK’s increasingly serious housing shortage.”

Our Team included Sir Richard MacCormac, XCO2 Energy, Lee Mallett, and WT Partnership. Additionally we were advised by Peter Studdert, Frank Vickery, and David Birkbeck.

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