An architectural brief that called for the brickwork to mirror an existing type and colour dating back to Victorian times was one of the defining elements of this Award winning construction project in the heart of Greenwich, South London. That brief was answered with a machine-made brick that delivers classic design elements with a distinctly contemporary twist. This was the winning project in the Architect’s Choice category at the Brick Awards 2018.
Developed by UK housing association Family Mosaic and constructed by Bouygues, the development on Creek Road comprises 83 contemporary homes and 1,800 sqm of commercial floor space. Extending Greenwich’s retail opportunities westwards from Cutty Sark Docklands Light Railway station, Creek Road is intended to host a wide range of boutique shops and cafes as well as a gym and other facilities geared towards the requirements of the residents.
Greenwich is an area in which great efforts have always made to accommodate modern retail and housing needs while maintaining the historic architectural feel, which in part stems from a rich maritime history evoked by restored 19th century ship the Cutty Sark, the National Maritime Museum, and the Old Royal Naval College. This emphasis fed into the development of Creek Road, which was highly commended by local planning committees for its ‘sympathetic but contemporary response’ to its surroundings and proximity to a World Heritage Site.
Specifically, the new site was developed to complement the adjacent former church, which has for many years housed Up the Creek, an iconic comedy club that helped to launch the careers of performers including Harry Hill and Jimmy Carr. Locally-based architectural practice BPTW took account of that building’s recent restoration as it set about designing Creek Road, whose striking facade is broken up into smaller sections which are each articulated by a slightly set back division in the brickwork.
The selection of building materials was pivotal to the realisation of the project, and after careful consideration of the various options a decision was taken to centre the construction around one primary brick type. This, it was felt, fulfilled two functions, namely: it would reflect the vintage nature of the era, whilst also evoking some more contemporary stylings. The machine-made stock brick is buff in colour and features a light texture with fine sand, ensuring that it blends in subtly and seamlessly with the surrounding buildings.
Rather like the Creek Road project itself, the brickwork is a winning fusion of modern and vintage. Carefully worked into the BPTW design, the bricks facilitate a focus on exposed brick clad soffits to terraces, which enable what might be described as a ‘flow of brick’ throughout the long elevations of brickwork.