Whitechapel’s Darbishire Place gets the Brick award for best housing design

Best housing design... Darbishire Place [photos: Nick Kane]

Best housing design... Darbishire Place [photos: Nick Kane] - Credit: RIBA

A modest rented tenement block of dwellings in the back streets of London’s working-class East End has won its second national architectural award in six months for its simple brickwork. Darbishire Place in Whitechapel—singled out for merit at the Royal Institute of British Architecture awards earlier this year—picked up its latest accolade last night in the Brick Awards.

Re-energised feeling... Darbishire Place

Re-energised feeling... Darbishire Place - Credit: RIBA

The building in John Fisher Street, off Cable Street, designed by architects Niall McLaughlin, has been given the Best Housing Design title for 2015.

It is described as a reinterpretation of classic masonry, which was built to replace an original Victorian Peabody building damaged during the Second World War.

The block brings a modern, re-energised feeling to the neighbourhood, fitting in effortlessly while creating an affordable environment, judges felt.

Impressive stairwell... Darbishire Place

Impressive stairwell... Darbishire Place - Credit: RIBA

The Brick Development Association panel found Darbishire Place “simple and direct, without fuss, frivolity or fancy”, yet with “moments of architectural delight”.


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Those “moments of delight” include a traditionally-styled stairwell with wrought iron railings, subtly projecting window surrounds and taper precast architectural stone trim bringing sensitivity “to what would otherwise be a less interesting building”.

Judges noted that it repairs a part of the dockland ‘streetscape’ damaged during the Blitz 75 years ago, when the nearby London Docks were targeted night after night.

Repairs streetscape... Darbishire Place

Repairs streetscape... Darbishire Place - Credit: RIBA

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