The architects department of London County Council developed a type of 2-bed maisonette in the early 50s, first deployed in the Grade II* listed Alton West estate in Roehampton. It’s a good typology to live in, with the access balcony at the front supervised by kitchen windows, a full-width private balcony to the rear, and two bedrooms on the upper floor free from overlooking. The type was rolled out many times in blocks across London.

This example is in Tower Hamlets. With a lower original construction cost than the showcase Alton estate, the flat lacks features like the screen of joinery linking the kitchen and living room. We are improving the layout, making a better connection to the balcony, screening the kitchen but allowing views, light and a breeze to pass through the downstairs, and providing a better bathroom and storage. The fitout features bold colours and low impact, natural materials.

To reduce energy use and improve comfort, the flat is being modelled in the Passivhaus Planning Package. Triple glazing, internal insulation, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) and airtightness works will reduce heating demand. An awning over the south-facing balcony glazing and shading to the sides of the balcony reduce summer overheating, while allowing solar gain when desirable in the winter.

Located on a main road, indoor air quality is a concern, so the MVHR system will be fitted with filters to reduce particulates in the supply air.


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