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Claredale Street Housing, UK

Karakusevic Carson Architects

With over seven hundred residences, an estate in a deprived area of Tower Hamlets, comprising a collection of 1960’s high rise towers and lower rise 6 storey blocks with left over spaces and ill-defined public/private relationships, has been revitalised.

Karakusevic Carson were appointed at resident ballot stage as masterplanners and Architects via Design Competition on a full service commission by Tower Hamlets Community Housing to work with their Project Managers, Estate Steering Group, Local Residents, Political Members and Planning Officers.

The schemes had aspirational client briefs for environmental innovation and design quality to deliver mixed tenure successfully. The neighbouring (popular) Victorian terraces and warehousing provided a scale and material reference for Claredale Street, to deliver beautifully designed family homes, and medium density socially rented and shared ownership homes consisting of 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom homes, including resident gardens, private courtyards and defensible frontages. The design is contemporary but timeless in its elegance and referencing of the local urban grain, through scale, detailing and material selection. Also through the provision of better defined public and private realm reinstating treescape to the Estate.

“Planning excellence and understanding of the broader context of Bethnal Green has lifted this (The Mansford Estate, Tower Hamlets) into the top league of contemporary housing developments” Kieran Long, Evening Standard, August 2010.

The house types create an active frontage and where they turn corners, the gable elevations are used as principle elevations to help provide passive surveillance and a more coherent streetscapes. The 3 storey properties are designed to offer a variety of heights and roof profiles to help to stitch the homes in to the existing neighbourhoods and surrounding urban grain. The robust detailing and materials selected also referenced the adjacent buildings with careful selection of quality brick, roofing types, window and balcony openings referring to the Victorian proportions. The copper colour is complementary to the Victorian Red Brick and the Copper Beech and Maple trees at the base of Keeling House.

  • The standing seam provides the buildings with a surface texture that reflects the domestic scale.
  • The narrow banded panels reflect the colour of the local surroundings; both the Victorian Terrace Housing nearby and the remaining local estate housing in addition to possess their own individual light qualities.
  • This is counterbalanced by the solidity of the engineered brick on the ground floor creating a unified street presence.
  • The selection of copper for this scheme was encouraged by the natural and hand-made qualities of the material. for a mixed tenure housing scheme this is an important factor - making it stand apart from many other housing schemes which use ‘off-the shelf’ facade materials or low quality bricks which we fear will not stand the test of time.
  • We feel a strong sense of responsibility to the residents of the new scheme, many of whom live in socially rented units. We know some of these residents well and we want to provide them with homes they can feel proud of, homes that will engender community spirit, which will engender respect, that are contextual, confident and that will age well.
  • The use of copper reflects the handcrafted quality of an area once dominated by small scale artisan makers.
  • The facade at Claredale Street has a three-dimensional profile which due to the qualities of the various plains and apertures can be detailed and the standing seam copper fixed without the need for bulky weatherproofing or cavity detailing.
  • “There are many great examples of contemporary housing in London that use appropriate materials, respect local context and understand architectural  history: Karakusevic Carson Architects’ Claredale Street Housing in Bethnal Green”, Kieran Long, Evening Standard, March 2011


Tower Hamlets Community Housing
Completion date: 
United Kingdom
Zip code: 
Claredale Street


Copper used: 


Name, office: 
Karakusevic Carson Architects
Address & description: 
The Gymnasium56 Kingsway PlaceSans WalkLondon  EC1R 0LU



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