New London Awards 2021 Winner - Agar Grove 1B
Winner in the HOUSING category
Agar Grove is a 493-home estate regeneration scheme in Camden, London. The masterplan has been designed by Mæ and Hawkins\Brown following intensive resident consultation. Mæ-assigned plots constitute 40% of all the homes. The plan provides all existing council tenants with a new home, while also providing affordable and market-rate homes for sale. The scheme consists of a demolition of a number of low-rise residential pavilions and the retention and refurbishment of the estate’s landmark Lulworth Tower. 395 of the new homes will be Passivhaus standard, the largest UK development of its kind.
Agar Grove’s masterplan integrates the estate back into the Camden’s urban fabric. Mæ’s design replaces low-rise residential sited in ill-defined green spaces with a network of streets, squares and shared residential courtyards. Designed by Mæ, the latest phase consists of three midrise building enclosing a communal play spaces, while creating overlooked frontages onto the surrounding streets. The design is inspired by the area’s elegant Georgian villas and terraces, and the new buildings are covered in beige brick but also acknowledges popular contemporary home types, such as maisonettes and split-level apartments.
The former will accommodate the families that live on the estate while the latter will be sold on the free market to help pay for the development. All homes are designed to a PassivHaus standard using a fabric first approach. Meeting these stringent standards has helped the contractor to achieve a high built quality. Solid materials and robust detailing ensure long functional lifespan. In addition homes feature generous layouts, double aspect for cross ventilation and private outdoor space. The delivery is phased to ensure residents of the estate only have to move once.
The Passivhaus homes in the scheme cut energy use for heating and heating bills by up to 90%, helping to tackle fuel poverty, while enabling a healthy indoor climate. The entire scheme is designed to be tenure blind, with no distinction between the built quality of the private, affordable, and social housing. All communal play facilities are integrated and shared between the blocks, and the scheme also contains publicly accessible facilities, such as playgrounds, green spaces, and a community centre and nursery will be built in the undercroft of the Lulworth Tower, benefitting the wider area.
International Jury Quote
It is an interesting achievement across various areas of design.