LHA Torquay House | Civic Trust Awards 2016

LHA Torquay House, a 13 storey tower in Paddington for the LHA London charity, was the winner of a Civic Trust Awards Commendation this week. The 157 room, MJP Architects designed building was completed last year.

Now in their 57th year, the Civic Trust Awards recognise the best in the built environment, from architecture to planning, townscape to infrastructure along with the public realm in its wider context. MJP Architects have received 25 Civic Trust Awards and commendations since 1980.

Link to Further Project Information

Link to Civic Trust Awards

Urban Site

This flagship development will give our student and working residents the very best living experience and allow them to stay right in the City of Westminster for so much less

Tony Perkins, CEO LHA London

The building is on a difficult but spectacular site next to the “Westway” elevated section of the A40, with panoramic views over London. The design mitigates the effects of high road noise levels and air pollution and overcomes hostile environmental conditions to achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ sustainability rating. It makes a major contribution to Westminster’s Westbourne Green Masterplan for improving the neighbourhood, with the ground floor frontage, public art, and modelling and colour of the elevations enlivening the streetscape. Accessible landscaped and planted roof terraces provide resident amenity spaces on this tight urban site.

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Communal Life

The building is on a difficult but spectacular site next to the Westway

There is strong demand in Central London for accommodation which is a step up from conventional student rooms or hostel, and 80% of the rooms are therefore designed as ‘microflats’ with a larger floor area, their own kitchenettes, study areas and shower rooms. The remaining 20% are ensuite with shared kitchens. The design promotes conviviality by placing social spaces and shared facilities (residents’ gym, laundry, study areas, common rooms) in ‘hotspots’, near lifts, stairs, and at circulation nodes. These communal spaces are designed to animate both the life of the building and its architecture.

Modern Methods of Construction

The façade is assembled from unitised precast white concrete panels with cast-in fluted orange faïence ceramic reveals

Off-site fabrication has been used to maintain quality and speed up construction. The façade was pre-assembled off-site, shower rooms, kitchenettes, and stair modules were factory built, and all vertical elements of the superstructure were precast in concrete. The façade was assembled from unitised precast white concrete panels with cast-in fluted orange faïence ceramic reveals. Bronze anodised windows were factory fitted to achieve high levels of airtightness, and the glazing has one of the lowest g-values available along with excellent acoustic insulation standards. The white concrete panels, which are lightly acid etched and which have a distinctive “riven” texture, were manufactured in Belgium by Decomo SA. Decomo have worked with MJP before, notably on St John’s College Oxford Kendrew Quadrangle

LHA London

The charity was founded in 1940 by Baroness Spencer-Churchill and provides low cost accommodation for students and young working people. Most residents are between the ages of 18 and 30 and stay whilst they get established in the capital. MJP have previously designed the RIBA, Civic Trust and National Housing Design award winning Friendship House for the LHA in Southwark. Within a limited budget, MJP’s design has provided a distinctive identity and an attractive living environment, which has contributed to the building’s popularity amongst residents and to a continuous demand for rooms.