Saturday 14 January 2012 2.56pm
It may not be often that someone on a local community forum unequivocally praises a new development rather than grumbling about it, but there is an example in SE1 that is nearing completion and which I believe deserves a doff of the cap: Trinity Church Terrace, between Trinity Church Square
and Merrick Square
On any given vacant site, I'd normally much rather see a good contemporary building than a dull, safe pastiche that lamely tries to 'fit in'; see nearby Portland Court for an example of the latter, and by no means the worst offender either.
And yet the detailing of Trinity Church Terrace is so accurate that I can't help but be mightily impressed. The style and dimensions of the terraces on Trinity Church Square
have been replicated with unusual precision, even down to the windows, brick coursing and pointing (an area where most pastiches usually give the game away).
Give it ten years to 'age' a bit and the new visitor to this conservation area would never guess that TCT wasn't built at the same time as the rest of the square. This, to me, is more of an achievement than applying a standard contemporary formula of modernistic lines, timber or Trespa panelling, bar-code windows, etc. so visible on new developments elsewhere.
I know there will be criticism of the types of properties these are, and the tenure, etc; they're unashamedly aimed towards the top end of the market. It would be nice to think that blocks of affordable housing could be designed with such care, but it's not hard to guess why this usually isn't possible.
There are some sites in some conservation areas where this approach, executed this well, is preferable to something more contemporary, and this is one of them. London would be a more boring place if this formula were repeated too often, but for this particular development, on this particular site, I think credit where credit's due for a development that genuinely enhances the conservation area.
(No connection to developer, contractor or architect, btw!)