Architecture

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“Lord Street” by Studio LK

March 4, 2024

Studio LK / www.studiok.co.uk

Studio LK has secured planning permission for a new town centre scheme in Gravesend, Kent.

The site at Lord Street, Gravesend is a mixed-use scheme comprising 156 flats, 2,600 sq m of commercial space that includes office, retail and live-work workshops, with ancillary car parking and open space. A new ‘community hub’ will be located on the ground floor and will provide an important function to local people. The ground floor will also create space for new shops and cafes, all of which will help to revive the public realm along Parrock Street and Lord Street.

The scheme was conceived to be a piece of urbanism rather than just a building on the site. It repairs an important part of the town centre’s perimeter block structure. It creates new front elevations that face onto the main routes of Parrock Street and Lord Street, and encloses and enhances Eden Place, which the existing mews along the north and west of the site.

The scheme’s massing includes a tower at the corner of Lord Street and Parrock Street, which acts as a ‘gateway’ into the old town centre. The lower two, and four to seven storey buildings around, and within, the perimeter of the block form an internal courtyard, and new lower scaled mews frontage onto Eden Place. Open spaces include a series of communal roof gardens, with the largest located in the internal courtyard at podium level.

The design takes precedent from the local urban and architectural language, proportions and materials, and interprets this to create a ‘playful’ and enlightening scheme that brightens up an otherwise underwhelming part of the town. Lita Khazaka, Director of Studio LK, says, “The client requested the design of a contemporary structure that not only pays homage to the history of Gravesend and its infrastructure but also incorporates sustainable and contemporary elements. The goal is to create a building that not only enhances the surroundings but also exudes vibrancy and liveliness.”

Some of the external materials comprise brick, zinc, and a bronze toned cladding system that highlights certain features including a ‘ribbon’ through the main elevations and the top element of the tower. The aim is to use this bronze material to reflect the sunlight, and to bring a sense of warmth and colour variation as the sun catches the cladding at different angles during the day.

The project incorporates several sustainable features, surpassing Building Regulations requirements for carbon emissions reduction. It includes measures for water efficiency, sustainable transportation, a policy for procuring sustainable materials, an effective on-site waste strategy, measures for health and wellbeing, optimal indoor air quality, and thermal comfort. Additionally, there are biodiversity enhancement measures, along with landscaped roof areas and a blue roof.

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