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The Exchange

Southwark, London

The Exchange0613
The Exchange0167

project overview

Unlocking a challenging inner-city site to create safe living space

Through contextual and sustainable design, The Exchange provides 205 homes designed to enhance the lives of the residents. Whilst also addressing the need for more outdoor family space in the city and creating nearby retail space giving residents access to everything within walking distance.

Drawing on the rich and varied heritage of the site, of tanneries, semi-industrial buildings and post war social housing, the identity of The Exchange was formed. Respecting the challenges of a site that was severely bombed during the Second World War and has two listed civic buildings to the main frontage along Spa Road, the masterplan promotes healthy living spaces for the local community.


project aims

Strengthening communities through safe and secure design

The main aim was to create a new model for delivering considerate residential design within a high-density area in the city. At the time, the area comprised of existing one and two bedroom homes. It lacked much of the variety needed to address Notting Hill Genesis’ (NHG) main priority - a lack of safe and secure family living and amenity space in the local community.

It was also important, through urban design, to create a harmonious relationship between the new buildings and listed buildings. The new buildings are also legibly designed to link through an urban parkway to the wider Bermondsey Spa regeneration area.

Supporting the health and wellbeing of residents, we have also carefully designed semi-private courtyards for communal use, and generous private roof terraces and balconies. Townhouses have their own patio gardens that open to secured communal courtyards with play space.

A true mixed-tenure development, it is one of the first ‘cross subsidy’ schemes by NHG where the private sale profits supports affordable housing. The Exchange has benefited the local community helping people in need of safe affordable housing - the final tenure split on the scheme is 44 Affordable Rent homes, 102 Shared Ownership homes and 59 Private Sale homes. This provides over 70% affordable homes without the need for external funding as well as creating a truly mixed and accessible community.

Designed for lifestyle - Modern lifestyles are shaping the design of this new generation of houses, marking a decisive shift away from the traditional idea of the house as a box with rigidly defined rooms for sleeping, eating and relaxing.”

Homes & Properties Magazine

Site Plan for DA
Aerial view
Spa Road Elevation
Parkway Elevation

design concept

Complexities of an inner-city brownfield site

We stayed true to the historic character of the site, using the nearby buildings to connect the site back to the community, repairing the gap on the street and create a cohesive masterplan respecting the old and the new. This is articulated in a delicate colonnade in pre-cast Portland concrete, reinterpreting the scale, proportion and materiality of the existing buildings.

Our block design and unit layouts are flexible, with inviting and legible communal cores and tenure blind entrances. a. Enhanced joinery specification and flexible layouts ensures the design is inherently adaptable to meet future changing demands for living space as families grow.

Coordination between the whole design team was key to address the site’s extensive history and with it, many unknowns. Such as, the possibility of unexploded bombs from WWII, unforeseen buried obstructions and the proximity of a primary substation. Meaning, there were a great number of high voltage cables crossing the site.

We worked closely with neighbouring stakeholders, to ensure they had the opportunity to view proposals and give their feedback. We used a public exhibition to raising awareness of the proposal. Engaging with residents and stakeholders as well as identifying key issues surrounding the potential development.

Key information

Project summary


Southwark, London


Notting Hill Genesis







12,000 m2


205 homes


Housing Design Awards 2016

BD Architect of the Year Awards 2014
- Housing Architect of the Year

Housing Design Awards 2010


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