Keybridge: a small urban site that’s full of possibilities
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Keybridge: a small urban site that’s full of possibilities

In London’s Vauxhall area, a new residential complex with shops, schools, parks, and a church

Allies and Morrison

Keybridge: a small urban site that’s full of possibilities
By Editorial Staff -

This is a project that brings together diverse functions in a small area. It’s a meeting place that, beginning with its architecture, triggers dialogue between people and generations. Designed by Allies and Morrison, Keybridge is a redeveloped urban site in London’s Vauxhall area that occupies just under three acres (1.19 ha) on the south bank of the Thames. The project involves, and gives a contemporary vitality to, the historic Vauxhall Griffin pub, but it also creates links between the innumerable styles and functions of the area: green spaces, industrial and construction areas, high-density residential pockets in transformation, a conservation area of Victorian houses, shops, schools, and parks.

To give this neighborhood both a new lease on life and a new look in terms of its history (it was previously occupied by a telecoms switching station), the architects from Allies and Morrison designed a hybrid residential development in two phases, comprising three towers, two apartment buildings, duplexes, shops, cafes, small business units, a school, and green space, as well as a new setting for the Vauxhall Griffin pub and St Anne and All Saints Church, all at the junction of Miles Street and South Lambeth Road. This is a mixed development, therefore, in which the buildings, with their differences and peculiarities, fit into, and adapt to, the context. From the outset, the redevelopment of the site focused on breaking down the mass of the existing building to create greater permeability between the center of Keybridge and its surroundings, as well as improving connections.


Complementary functions and styles

Keybridge - Allies and Morrison ©Rory Gardiner, courtesy of Allies and Morrison

Although the project is mainly residential, at its heart was an addition to the existing Wyvil Primary School to increase its student capacity. Shops and restaurants occupy the ground-level of the buildings on South Lambeth Road, while a mews for small businesses faces the rail viaduct at the back of the site. The result is a mixture of indoor and outdoor spaces with very different functions that constantly alternate between public areas and private spaces.

The project was delivered in two phases. The first involved the two residential buildings, easily recognizable by their red bricks and white terracotta penthouses, which resemble a row of pitched-roof townhouses set on top of another. Facing Wyvil Road is a building comprising ten stacked duplexes offering affordable accommodation. The project’s second phase developed the overall architectural character of Keybridge, starting with harmonizing it with its context and preserving the Victorian style through the use of the same red brick. This phase included the completion of the school in response to increasing demand from the residents of this changing area. The school occupies the base of the lowest of the three residential towers and has large flexible areas for outdoor play and informal learning. With this project, the architects have created a neighborhood where people can live and grow, with all the necessary services for both children and adults.

>>> Read the editorial by Jing Liu in THE PLAN 137, entitled Discourses on Living.


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Location: London, UK
Architects: Allies and Morrison
Client: BT Property, Mount Anvil

Structure: WSP, Waterman Group
Services: Waterman Group
Landscape: Townshend Landscape Architects, Planit-IE

Photography by Rory Gardiner and Tim Crocker, courtesy of Allies and Morrison


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