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Low Cost Housing, London

  • Architect:
    Niall McLaughlin Architects
  • Award Type:
    Regional Award 2005
  • Location: Overseas
Low Cost Housing, London


Overseas Over €300,000

Architect’s Comment

In December 2002, we won a design competition organised by the Peabody Trust, called Fresh Ideas for Low Cost Housing. We concentrated on the following issues in relation to the design:

(a) The rational layout of the interior, giving a large, flexible living space with unusually high ceilings for low cost housing.

(b) The view, looking from the building, out over the strange landscape of London Docklands, London City Airport, Canary Wharf and the Millennium Dome.

(c) The strange chemical history of the site, and (d) The nature of modern industrialised construction, in which a timber-frame is wrapped in a decorative outer layer.
Modern low cost housing construction is pre-fabricated timber frame and timber sheeting. Once you make the timber carcass, you have to wrap it in something, usually a layer of brick, wood, or tiles. The industrial product is returned to a reassuring traditional appearance. In our case we looked at all kinds of industrial wrapping that might be used as the final layer to present our building. Given the place, we wanted something bright and sweet and chemical. Of course it had to be cheap. The south facade of the building is wrapped in a covering of dichroic material. Light hitting the facade is reflected back from different layers of the construction, producing a shifting pattern. Cast glass is used to capture the light as it escapes. In time, a stand of silver birch trees will add an extra layer to the facade. At times the effect is robustly geometric, at others it is evanescent and fugitive.

Clients’ Comment
The architects have played a key role in helping the Peabody Trust to push the design boundaries of affordable housing in the UK. With Evelyn Road, Niall McLaughlin has demonstrated that it shares our continuing commitment towards providing affordable housing schemes for London using innovative techniques and materials.

The properties at Evelyn Road represent the end of West Silvertown Urban Village - a phased development on a 78-acre site. Its design is based on the concept of developing integrated communities which have a mix of housing, shops, recreational facilities and work places all in one area.

Niall McLaughlin Architects has shown an acute understanding of our needs as an affordable housing client. Their innovative architectural design at Evelyn Road was prominent yet sensitive to its surroundings and space was utilised carefully and economically.


An architecture which strives to elevate the mundane to the extraordinary. With radical and innovative use of materials, ordered and controlled.