BBM were key players of a design team which begun the Greenwich Millennium Village. In the run up to the new millennium, the project was seen as a flagship example of an urban village and incorporated much of the recommendations set out in the Government’s Urban Task Force review. The brief set demanding standards for innovation, sustainability and quality. The original competition winning consortium included the Swedish architect and masterplanner, Ralph Erskine Architects and Planners, specialist housing architects HTA, multi-disciplinary engineering outfit Battle McCarthy and developers Countryside PLC, Taywood Homes, Moat Housing and BBM performing the role of envisioning architects and sustainability consultants. The bid was successful and BBM were retained to produce impressions of the development for use in the planning application for the first phase of construction.
In the early stages of involvement, BBM were instrumental in pulling together the design team producing presentation drawings for the sketch designs produced by Erskine’s office in Sweden and later to visualising the intricate townscapes at various stages of the development process. We also performed the role as sustainability consultant bringing on board ideas about how information technology can benefit the community and individuals living, learning and working in the new development.
The development is formed around a newly established park. The highest blocks face onto the Thames and wrap around the park, maximising the number of flats with distant views and also providing an environmental barrier to harsh northerly winds. Terraced housing and medium rise flatted accommodation is distributed south of the park and optimises the solar access for each property with a gradual stepping down in height towards the sun.
Movement in the development was conceived to separate a pedestrians and vehicles. A pedestrianised ‘neckless’ of courtyards and passages through each block links the entire development together and hardly encountering any road vehicles. Vehicular access roads defined the outer edges of the blocks with clear delineation between distributor roads and minor access roads.
The inner courtyards include communal landscaped areas with careful distinctions between public and private external amenity.
Clever handling of levels allowed for parking to be enclosed slightly below grade with landscape terraces above and thus allowed for high densities of housing to be achieved whilst maintaining excellent standards of external amenity.
The ideas generated at GMV continue to inspire housing and masterplanning design and the development itself has become a successful new community from what was only a few years prior a derelict post industrial stretch of land.