December 6, 2021

Peabody social housing lets in maximum light

An urban social housing project in Whitechapel London, which provides “comfort and happiness” for its residents, is a finalist in the RIBA Stirling architecture prize awarded this month. The RIBA Stirling Award, is the UK’s most prestigious architecture prize, and is awarded to the architects of the building which has made the biggest contribution to the evolution of architecture in the past year.

High performance aluminium clad timber windows from NorDan UK Ltd, a market leader for timber windows in social housing, contribute to the buildings air tightness, helping to keep heating bills to a minimum.

Scandinavian timber and alu clad timber windows from NorDan, are proved to have a very long life cycle and contribute to the buildings Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4. This £2.3m project, was designed by Niall McLaughlin Architects, main contractor Sandwood Design and Build.

This small block of only 13 mixed size units fills a gap site which has served as a car park since the 1940s,when a former tenement block was bombed during the Second World War. The design of the block takes cues from the typical Peabody housing blocks, designed by Henry Darbishire in the 1860s.


The new block reflects the massing and characteristics of the existing estate blocks.  Deep, white reveals around windows and balconies contrast with the brick facade and provide sufficient space for planters on the cills. The balconies are positioned within the building envelope, so as to retain a flat brick facade in keeping with the existing blocks.  These balconies have openings on two sides to allow a maximum amount of daylight into the living rooms through their NorDan sliding patio doors. The apartments were designed to have the living rooms at the ends of the blocks – most units receive light from three sides, with generous covered balconies.

The practice has ensured that central circulation space is generous, with natural light and ventilation. The winding stair has a central void to provide additional light and an important visual connection between the floors. The need for a ventilation shaft has been removed by positioning the required fire lobbies on an external wall with opening windows. At least half of the 13 1,2,3 and 4-bed units will be affordable dwellings.