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shedkm + hub create new community in the heart of abbey wood 

Abbey Place is a new cluster of affordable housing in Abbey Wood, designed by shedkm for HUB, with funding partners Bridges Fund Management and CBRE IM. The apartment blocks provide 245 residential apartments, with over 70% affordable, 882m2 of flexible commercial space and new private and public amenity space. 

Set directly next to the new Abbey Wood Crossrail interchange, the development is a benchmark for the ongoing rejuvenation in the area. Working with the constraints of a compact yet well connected site, Abbey Place is a marker for Abbey Wood as a great place to live, work and relax. 

The mixed-tenure, one to three bedroom homes in two adjacent towers – Knight and Keen – are linked by a shared residents’ garden, which sits above public amenity at the ground-level. There are also rooftops for residents to enjoy with impressive views back to city. The roof terraces, green roofs, balconies, podium spaces, public square and street trees will, once fully mature, give a constantly changing, dynamic, living green environment that is a supportive and nurturing environment for all species of flora and fauna. The extensive, high quality and conveniently located private and communal amenity space will help to bring new residents together and the public realm encourages them to interact with the wider neighbourhood and to connect the neighbourhood with the development.

Apartments have been designed to be both energy efficient and passive in nature to minimise environmental impact and maximise quality of living. Each home has exceptional insulation, and has been designed ‘inside-out’ to maximise the use of space, using a sustainable passive design approach providing natural ventilation and lighting. The landmark buildings utilise robust, expressed grid architecture and bold colour flashes to be instantly recognisable in such a key location adjacent to Abbey Wood station. The stone-effect cladding provides a sense of civic solidity grounding the towers in the new tree-lined public square. The monumental open sky frames on both buildings provide creative amenity space at height with panoramic views. The green-panelled balconies give a strong graphic quality when first seen when leaving the station. Concrete soffits and exposed services bring a ‘loft-style’ to the affordable market. Wherever possible the homes have been orientated to provide dual aspect facing frontages, with the arrangement of accommodation designed to maximise the site’s east and west locale.

The buildings create a new sense of place at the heart of Abbey Wood, while contributing to the regeneration of Thamesmead estate. This wider Abbey Wood masterplan is being redeveloped by not-for-profit housing association Peabody, with plans for thousands of new homes, public realm improvements and community facilities to be delivered over the next 20 years. GLA grant funding was secured for the project, to maximise the delivery of affordable homes on the site, ensuring they are accessible for local people. The scheme is 72% affordable – over double the GLA requirement of 35% – providing a total of 245 homes. The commuting time from the area to central London has reduced significantly from over an hour to 25 minutes, giving local people access to a wider job market, as well as providing a boost for local businesses around the new station. 

Abbey Place sits adjacent to Lesnes Abbey Woods – an 88 hectare ancient woodland with ruins of a 12th Century Abbey inside. BCA Landscape designed connections to the Abbey and its associated ancient woodland, burial tumuli, veteran trees meadows, and fossils. Key elements of the new spaces reference and celebrate these memorable features and connect the new site to its immediate surroundings in a meaningful way. The planting style recreates a piece of heathland found locally, near Lesnes Abbey Woods.

Helen MacNeil, Associate at shedkm, said: “Connectivity is key at Abbey Place. These much-needed homes in Abbey Wood, linked by the new Elizabeth Line, are an affordable way to buy or rent high quality housing in London while being closely connected to the centre. We hope to foster a strong sense of community both within the development through the interconnecting public amenity gardens and shared rooftop terraces, as well as encouraging street front interactions with the wider community along the new tree-lined public square. Our bold material and confident colour choices ground the development physically and in terms of Abbey Wood’s identity as a place.“

Damien Sharkey, Managing Director at HUB, said: “Abbey Place continues HUB’s track record of delivering inclusive and sustainable regeneration schemes in well-connected locations. We are immensely proud of this project, which not only addresses the pressing need for affordable housing, but also plays a key part in the evolution of Abbey Wood, as the area begins to see the benefits of the Elizabeth Line come to fruition. With over 70% of the 245 residential apartments being affordable, Abbey Place exemplifies our commitment to accessibility and community enrichment.”