Iroko Housing Co-op

Iroko housing co-op internal courtyard

Iroko Housing Co-operative was completed in 2001 and was officially opened by Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London in March 2002. Of the 59 homes, 32 are five-bedroom houses, 6 are three-bedroom maisonettes, and there are 21 one- and two-bedroom maisonettes and flats (including one flat designed for a wheelchair user), all designed around a communal garden. At basement level is a public car park. On the ground level are two corner shops and limited residential parking (21 spaces).

The brief

The brief was to fully exploit the site’s potential for large family homes with individual gardens whilst also providing for smaller households to create a healthy mix. All the homes have private open space, gardens, terraces or balconies – but a shared garden was also essential.

Architects Haworth Tompkins' response was to arrange the homes on three sides of an open courtyard allowing communal space to be maximised in the form of a large landscaped garden with designated play areas. The fourth side of the square was completed by the Coin Street neighbourhood centre.

The scale and streetside elevations of the housing reflect its urban setting. On Coin Street and Cornwall Road five-bedroom terraced houses are four storeys high, with an attic room set back from the street elevation and opening on to a generous roof terrace overlooking the courtyard garden. The Coin Street terrace also includes two three bedroom maisonettes, again with roof terraces, above a two-bedroom flat designed for wheelchair use.

On Upper Ground, the height is increased in response to the busy urban character of the street and the massing of buildings opposite. Three storey houses are topped by two-storey maisonettes reached by a broad communal terrace again overlooking the garden. The corners of the Upper Ground terrace are marked by two shops at ground level, with one-, two- and three-bedroom flats and maisonettes above.

The elevational treatment of the houses acknowledges their dual aspect. The street elevations are expressed as a crisp brick screen with deep window reveals. A lighter touch, with pre-weathered zinc cladding, is used at the upper storey levels where the elevations step back. On the courtyard side the palette of materials has been carefully chosen to weather and mature with the landscaping. The concrete frame is expressed, with the edges of slabs and the faces of columns on party wall lines exposed. The infill cladding is vitex cofassus, a naturally durable hardwood from managed sustainable sources. It needs no preservative treatment or applied finishes, thus reducing maintenance costs. The same timber is used for horizontal sunshades and balcony decking.

Design team

Architect/Project Manager: Haworth Tompkins Architects
Consultant Engineer: Price & Myers
Mechanical & Electrical Services Engineer: Atelier Ten
Quantity surveyor: Davis Langdon & Everest
Planning Supervisor: Housing Association Property Mutual
Landscape Architect: Camlin Lonsdale
Main Contractor: The Mansell Group


Design for Homes Housing Design Project/Regeneration Award (2001)
Design for Homes Housing Design Completed Project Award (2002)
ROOM National Partnership Awards (2002)
Blueprint Architecture Awards 2002 – Best Residential Building
RIBA Award 2002

68 dwellings per hectare (PPG3 suggests 30-50 dwellings per hectare)
332 habitable rooms per hectare (London Borough of Lambeth’s planning guideline 210 habitable rooms per hectare, an increase of 58%)

The total cost of the scheme £14.5m funded by:
£5.5m Housing Corporation grant
£0.33m SRB Challenge Fund
£2.67m CSS borrowing
£6.00m CSCB borrowing

Click here to visit Iroko Housing Co-op’s website