Southmere is the first phase of the South Thamesmead and Abbey Wood Housing zone. South Thamesmead includes the very first homes delivered as part of the original regeneration masterplan, making Thamesmead not only the biggest regeneration project in London but one of the biggest in the UK. The Thamesmead masterplan and the new Southmere village is developed in collaboration with Proctor and Matthews Architects.
Phase 1 forms the civic heart of South Thamesmead, focusing on connectivity, community and character. It will deliver a coherent community with affordable homes and new jobs, at close travel distance to the City of London. Southmere Village occupies a large site on the edge of Southmere Lake and is the first area of Thamesmead to be regenerated.
A new public square will act as the focal point for local residents and visitors, and restore community facilities. A double height colonnade encloses the square on ground level, activating the plinth with shop frontages and building entrances. Opening towards Southmere Lake, it creates an attractive environment that allows street life to thrive.
The main building figure in the design is the ensemble; a cluster of connected residential buildings, grouped around a raised shared courtyard. The buildings are different in height and host a variety of housing typologies, creating smaller communities within the larger whole. On ground floor a mixed-use programme offers active frontages and lively surroundings.
The ensemble will allow for a varied and open built fabric while simultaneously making a clear distinction between the public, private and collective spaces connected to the residential units. The ensemble can be seen as a new interpretation of the projects that were built at the end of the 19th century by the Peabody Trust.
The ensembles allow for a very flexible and varied design. Each ensemble has its own combination of different housing types, ranging from one bedroom units to four bedroom townhouses. The majority of apartments have dual aspect, with private balconies designed to maximize views and exposure to natural light.
The predominant facade material for the ensembles is brick, adding a warmer feel to the existing concrete buildings. Mecanoo’s design for the building ensembles carefully integrates Blewbury House and Tilehurst Point. These recently refurbished 13-storey residential blocks are the last remnants of the 1967 masterplan located on site.