The British Homes Awards


Front Runner

The imposing frontage of Greengate House has long been a familiar sight in Plaistow. The locally listed façade of the five storey brick and faience ceramic former YMCA hostel building has been retained in this scheme, but a new residential community has been inserted into its large backland site to create a development of 64 affordable apartments for keyworkers.

Architect Levitt Bernstein Associates’ design for London and Quadrant Housing Association inserts three new blocks of housing behind the refurbished frontage. The design uses the retained façade of Greengate House as an anchor, and a new frontage building on a side road forms the enclosure to a new hidden garden.

The secret nature of this space is reinforced by constructing the remaining perimeter as a 2m high gabion wall, the metal baskets filled with dark stone boulders. Balconies overlook the courtyard while elevations facing away from the site are green, one being a planted wall and the other a 30 degree sloping sedum roof.

Parking is provided in the basement of the tall block and at grade beneath the smaller block. The landscape scheme is designed as a walled garden that can be shared by the new community.

The lower floors of the buildings facing the courtyard are constructed using reconstituted granite bricks, chosen to work with the rough stone of the gabion walls. They provide a solid rough textured surface that runs around the courtyard and through the entrance lobbies, directing visitors to the heart of the scheme. This is contrasted with larch planks on one block elevation and on the box balconies of another block.

The project exceeds EcoHomes Very Good standard.


Levitt Bernstein
1 Kingsland Passage
E8 2BB
Tel: 020 7275 7676
Fax: 020 7275 9348
Contact: Sally Bradforth


London & Quadrant Housing Trust
10 Grove Crescent Road
E15 1BJ
Tel: 0844 406 9000
Contact: Jerome Geoghegan