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delivering our first homes for social rent in partnership with royal borough of greenwich

When working with Greenwich Builds and the local community in Greenwich to design these much-needed homes shedkm’s approach has been people-first. In putting socially responsive design at the heart of the scheme and prioritising sustainability, placemaking and generous space standards, our ambition has been to create a vibrant place to live within this emerging new neighbourhood.

As well as beautifully designed, practical homes for those who need them most, the scheme will also address complex contextual issues, improving and repairing the existing urban fabric with a strong focus on the public realm. Homes are being rolled out on a number of pocket sites and stitched into wider masterplans to create sustainable neighbourhoods, with more play space, animated streets and better community connectivity, for the benefit of new and existing residents alike.

The Borough’s ambitious scheme will provide over 750 sustainable, high-quality, genuinely affordable homes – far below the private market rate at London Affordable Rent. We have designed over 230 of the target number of homes, which will be located at nine sites across the borough. A key aspiration for us was to challenge design stereotypes of socially rented housing, with a focus on the quality and generosity of inside space. Despite the constrained nature of both sites, each home has been designed with large, picture windows to maximise natural light and with simple, spacious and practical interiors. Living areas and bedrooms have been designed with views connecting to the gardens, communal outdoor areas and wider site. Window arrangements, tree planting and adjacencies to pavements strike a balance between individual privacy and connections to the street.

mmc for low cost housing at scale

MMC has already proved itself in the private sector where the adaptability of modular design is perfect for creating a range of design-led products for a variety of budgets, including entry level buyers. Increasingly, volumetric construction is also being championed by government and local authorities for its potential to deliver affordable, low-cost housing at scale and meet national housing targets.

The scheme at Greenwich will be constructed entirely from offsite methods of manufacturing, an exemplar of sustainable, social housing in terms of both delivery and operation.

100% of the homes we are designing will be designated for social rent and will achieve net zero as a minimum. To date, sites have ranged from redevelopment of small, underutilised infill sites with proposals for two new homes, to larger masterplans consisting of 80 homes in a mixture of family housing and apartments. As a result, we have developed responsive typologies that can be used in a variety of site conditions and contexts whilst still adhering to the principles of standardisation and repetition. The scheme has been designed using modular offsite timber construction with each house being formed of two to four modules. Offsite construction has been a key component in achieving shedkm and the Borough’s environmental targets, with homes designed and delivered to achieve beyond net-zero carbon targets in both construction and operation, and subsequent energy savings benefitting both tenants and the Borough. Other active measures include mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, photovoltaic panels and air source heat pumps.

The first four modular homes to complete are split across two sites, Strongbow Road and Bowness Close. At Bowness Close building fabric, factory production and active MEP systems are working holistically to achieve healthy and energy efficient living environments for new residents and a positive onsite energy generation of 105.78%. As a direct result of the construction precision achieved through the offsite manufacture process, the houses at Bowness Close achieve an air tightness rating of 2.94 m3/h.m2. This has resulted in an easily controllable internal temperature for residents reducing the reliance on heating systems and thereby contributing towards highly energy and cost-efficient homes.