On what was once proposed as a site for a drive-thru McDonald’s in Thamesmead, an outer suburb of West London, The Reach provides well-designed, affordable new homes for over 170 residents. Its distinctive curved façade of banded red brickwork reinvigorates an existing local centre with a new sense of place, encouraging further regeneration and investment in the area. Brightly coloured projecting balconies animate the façades enclosing a generous south-facing communal garden. The Reach not only demonstrates how to densify London’s outer suburbs and help tackle the city’s housing crisis; it also delivers beautiful but affordable homes for local residents.
From the outset, Peabody wanted to ensure the building would stand the test of time, set a new high standard of design in the area, and deliver on their aspiration to provide 100% affordable homes. One of the ways the building achieves this is through the use of brick. This robust and beautiful material is synonymous with housing in London, and the use of two variations of red brickwork in horizontal bands, accented with black soldier courses, creates a striking contrast to the surrounding buildings with a unified language and a strong civic presence.
Deep reveals and recessed courses create a high quality and robust sense of longevity. The scheme is made up of entirely affordable tenures, including affordable rented units for tenants on the local housing register, and shared ownership flats, targeted specifically at local, first-time buyers. The specification of robust materials and the integration of sustainable technologies, including high-performance fabric, photovoltaics, and communal heating system with heat exchanger, ensures running costs are kept low for all residents.
Inspired by the brutalist architecture renowned within wider Thamesmead, The Reach welcomes its architectural heritage into the generous communal stairwells by featuring exposed concrete walls off-set by stunning, warm accent colours of the handrails and balustrades. Not only does this add visual intrigue to inner spaces within the development, but practically provides wayfinding as each core block adopts a different vibrant, accent colour.