RUFFARCHITECTS were selected by Brick by Brick Ltd. to develop 4 sites in New Addington, a suburb in the Borough of Croydon, forming the border between Greater London and Surrey. Brick by Brick are a private development company set up by Croydon Council with the ambition to provide high-quality private and social housing across the borough. With Croydon Council as their sole shareholder, the profits from these developments are invested in public services for the improvement of the local area. These sites were part of the second wave of sites in Brick by Brick’s Smaller Sites Programme, which aims to work with the best architectural talent to deliver housing on infill and back-land sites of varying sizes and conditions.
3 of the 4 sites which we were selected to develop were along Fairchildes Avenue, a road in the suburb of New Addington. This road is lined on the north side with semi-detached housing, while the south side form the border between New Addington and the rolling Green Belt landscape, as well as 3 school sites. The road is also characterised by its distinctive line of tall trees to the south side which connects to nearby woodlands and areas of ecological importance.
RUFFARCHITECTS developed a collective vision for these 3 sites which could help to tie together the new developments with each other while providing improvements to the existing environment. As the road is used by pupils travelling to and from school, there was an opportunity to create safe walking and cycling routes along the currently unused southern verge of Fairchildes Avenue. Existing areas of green verge can be improved to provide stopping places to appreciate the dramatic views, habitats for animals can provide learning opportunities for children and informal seating can provided placed for walkers to stop and rest. Larger areas of green verge can provide an improved environment for the local schools; playgrounds can safe-guard areas for the benefit of school pupils, some of which are currently used for car parking at school drop off times.
This new walking route can also connect to wider systems of bridleways and walking routes, improving the current access to the verdant countryside that makes New Addington a unique place to live.
Image courtesy of Pillar Visuals