This week we are pleased to welcome the renowned architect and educator Professor Peter Salter, who will talk about his remarkable housing project in Walmer Road, London. Peter Salter has been Head of the School of Architecture at the University of East London and since 2006, Professor of Architectural Design at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University. In the 1980’s and 1990’s Salter established his reputation whilst teaching at the Architectural Association. In 2004 he won the Royal Institute of British Architects Annie Spink Award for his outstanding contribution to architectural education. This prize was awarded jointly with Wolf Prix, and confirmed his international standing. His students are amongst the foremost architects now practicing all over the world from Iceland to Germany. The four houses at Walmer Yard in London represent his first built residential project in the UK.
Walmer Yard: Housing
(The design) became an exploration of close living, a re-densification, possibly a way of answering some of London’s housing needs. “Close living” requires constraints: privacy and quietness being paramount between the four houses arranged around a courtyard. Each house is proportioned according to its sun aspect: a shallow plan form for single aspect houses and thicker form for double aspect dwellings. From the entrance, the courtyard is reached between pinched elements of the houses and turns through a “dogleg” stepped ramp up to a more secluded external space beyond.
(Sabbioneta) became an important precedent for the project at Walmer Yard. The quietness, privacy and scale of Sabbioneta offered resonances to Walmer, particularly in the accommodation strategy. In the “ideal city”, reception rooms are on upper levels, prompting similar solutions to cope with planning constraints at Walmer Yard. The top floor of our houses offers a different kind of architecture to the form of building below. These spaces are used for pleasure, as living rooms or discreet places to flirt or play cards or eat and drink late into the night. They are reminiscent of the “pepper pot” rooms of grand Tudor country houses, where guest would walk across the roof leads to get to the spaces beyond.
[Peter Salter, Domus, March 2017]