Silchester Estate

Haworth Tompkins, London, 2016


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The railway’s arches are being converted to create business and retail spaces 

Keith Hunter     Download Original

  • The railway’s arches are being converted to create business and retail spaces    
  • Different tenure types are mixed across the scheme    
  • The project integrates family housing and apartments within a city block that reinstates a traditional street pattern with outward facing active frontages    
  • External balconies are recessed on the street frontages    
  • The scheme is next to the Hammersmith and City railway line    
  • The roughly triangular site is bounded by three streets    
  • At each corner of the block, communal spaces have been incorporated    
  • The qualities of Peabody’s existing 19th-century housing estates, and traditional London terrace housing, are reference points for the horizontal and vertical rhythm of the masonry façades    
  • Powder-coated steel gates lead through to the communal stairwells    
  • Location plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Four-bedroom flat plan    
  • Section AA    
  • Section BB    
  • Lockton Street elevation    
  • The site before work began    
  • Detail section through balcony    

Haworth Tompkins remakes the street at Silchester Estate in west London.

Silchester was designed in 1969 with a typical freeform Modernist site plan; its four 20-storey tower blocks interspersed with four-storey terraces of maisonettes and other low-rise blocks. Haworth Tompkins’ scheme is the first part of an ongoing ‘regeneration’ of the whole estate by Kensington and Chelsea Council. 

The council partnered with Peabody to build 112 mixed-tenure homes, with attendant communal spaces, work units and retail facilities. Haworth Tompkins’ design integrates the original 20-storey tower block, Frinstead House, into effectively a new city block around a communal garden – although the former remains separately managed by a tenant management organisation (TMO) set up by the council. 

The scheme involved the demolition of one low-rise block, but of the remaining council residents, who lived in a row of ground-floor one-bedroom flats, five households took up the offer to move to larger but similarly arranged flats on site, each with a private garden as before. In total the scheme provides more than 75 per cent affordable units: 45 at social rent and 39 in shared ownership, which range in size from one to five bedroom.

The roughly triangular site is bounded by three streets, two existing – Freston Road and Shalfleet Drive – as well as a new mews-type street created alongside the viaduct under the Hammersmith and City railway line. The railway’s arches are being converted to create business and retail spaces. Densification has meant reestablishing street frontages, essentially in an arrangement of primarily horizontal blocks of maisonettes and flats strung around the perimeter – mostly five storeys but rising to nine at one corner – which then tie in to the base of the existing tower-block on its north‑west corner.

Wrapping around a large communal garden, the triangular urban block has been designed to ensure all residential units are dual aspect. The building’s perimeter edges reintroduce traditional residential street patterns, with active frontages. Generous day-lit communal entrance cores connect to the garden and provide access to upper levels. The corners of the site are animated with community spaces and retail uses. A public mews, Lockton Street, has been created alongside the existing railway viaduct.

External balconies are recessed on the street frontages. Facing the communal garden, the balconies project and articulate the site’s geometry. Private terraces for the ground-floor family units provide a buffer between individual residences and the shared garden. The garden integrates existing mature trees, and is designed as a lush open green space to look on to and move freely within.

The projecting balconies to the courtyard are expressive elements within an otherwise pared-back façade. They angle in plan to reflect the geometry of adjacent buildings. Luxcrete was chosen for these balcony decks and allows light through, reducing overshadowing to flats below.

The construction sequence meant the balconies had to be installed at the end of the project after scaffolding had come down. Thermally broken steel stub brackets were installed first, connected to cast-in fixings projecting out from the concrete slab. The façade was then built up around these stubs and a steel PFC frame was bolted on.


  • Begun: Apr 2013
  • Completed: Mar 2016
  • Floor area: 11,226m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £26.7M
  • Procurement: Design and Build
  • CO2 Emissions: 11.98kg/m2/year
  • Address: Silchester Estate, London, W10 6UB, United Kingdom

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