Acton Gardens Block 5
South Acton Estate, Ealing
271 new homes
Planning authority
London Borough of Ealing
Shortlist, NLA Awards: Housing – South Acton Phase 5 2019

The scheme comprises 271 new homes in 6 buildings, ranging from 5-12 storeys providing a mix of tenures - affordable rent, shared ownership, private sale and Build to Rent. The urban perimeter block arrangement has been carefully configured to provide breaks in the buildings to maximise sunlight into the internal courtyard, views out to the neighbouring park and the retention of existing trees to the benefit of residents using the shared communal landscaped amenity.

A standard podium parking solution was negated by the provision of most of the new parking on-street, with some spaces provided within the communal courtyard. We therefore omitted the need for a concrete podium ‘deck’, with the subsequent ability to retain mature, existing trees that add significant amenity value for residents, ecological benefit and beauty to the site. 

The buildings offer residents of different tenures a ‘tenure blind’ environment, where architectural treatment and features are of a consistently high quality throughout the phase.

The public realm is activated with maisonettes at ground floor providing front doors to the street and private rear gardens. Two storey duplex pavilions articulate the top floors to create an attractive roofline on top of articulated brick mansion blocks. Materials have been selected to complement or match with the previous masterplan development phases, including the use of a special brick type – ‘Acton Blend’ that has been developed for the masterplan.

A feature building of 12 storeys is located on the corner of the development closest to the Acton Underground Station to act as a ‘marker’ to the wider masterplan for locals and visitors alike. It’s use of grey brick and large balconies, as well as its generous lobby space and overall height, effectively differentiates the building within the wider masterplan setting.

The courtyard at Acton Gardens provides a beautiful tranquil space for residents in the heart of this new neighbourhood. Views through generous openings in the blocks give an enticing and leafy impression of the landscape inside, in addition to ensuring that the courtyard is filled with sunlight.

A copse of existing acacia trees provides instant maturity and appeal from the outset; their light foliage acting as a foil to the interior elevations and backdrop. A second group of trees is introduced to their south to frame a central lawn and create the feeling of a garden set in a woodland glade.

Within the clearing is a central seating area where residents can meet and socialise overlooking bulb planted lawns. Informal timber play is interwoven through the trees and biodiverse planting to give an experience that encourages children to explore and interact with nature. The setting is enhanced using planting that attracts wildlife, is scented and provides all year round seasonal interest to create a green oasis within this residential area.

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