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Westminster students win Peabody international architectural competition

3 July 2012

Westminster students Claire Harper and James Perry have been announced as the Conceptual Submissions Winners of the Peabody 150 Homes for 150 Years architectural competition.


To celebrate the Peabody's 150th Anniversary, the housing association launched an international competition to design 150 homes on a former hospital site in the east end of London.  

Westminster students James Perry and Claire Harper were announced as the winner of the conceptual competition, run in parallel to highlight the design talent among practices that did not meet the pre-qualification criteria for the design competition. Their winning design takes the theme 'room to grow' - developing a series of typologies based around flexibility, adaptability and strategies for providing a bit of extra space.

Claire Harper is currently writing a PhD at Westminster on the spatial consequences of higher urban densities for housing design.  James Perry is studying his Postgraduate Diploma of Professional Practice in Architecture (RIBA/ARB Part III) and recently completed an MA in Urban and Regional Planning at Westminster.

"It's great to be acknowledged and to have received such generosity from the Peabody Trust supporting young designers like ourselves," says James Perry. "The proposal was based on a series of design strategies to provide a little extra space on top of the bare minimum; which can have immense value - as a space for work, hobbies, socialising or expanding into.  It was a fantastic opportunity to explore and test ideas around housing design."

Claire and James' proposal takes its lead from the Peabody schemes of the early 20th century.  A robust outer façade encloses a softer, sociable heart, expressed in the contrast between the brick wall of row housing that defines the site edge and the composite of lightweight panels that make up the softer facades that face onto the shared communal spaces.  Communal spaces; gardens that expand the private gardens of the row houses and large, semi-enclosed courtyards for the flats provide essential 'room to grow'.  The courtyards that give access to the flats provide the space for residents to pursue personal endeavours, group projects, or to expand outside of the dwelling for a social gathering – endeavours that are otherwise curtailed by a shortage of space.  The architectural identity of the scheme is defined by the palette of materials; russet brick from the dismantled hospital buildings contrasted against a porous façade of timber prefabricated panels. 

View the press coverage of James’ and Claire’s success here:

Images from Claire and James' winning proposal


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