Chobham Manor is an award-winning residential development in East London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, with 75% of the housing dedicated to 3-bedroom family homes. A decade in the making, Chobham Manor has transformed the park into a thriving new neighbourhood.
- Location London, UK
- Status Built
- Services Architecture, Urban design
- Sector Residential
- Area 93,000m²/1,001,000ft²
- Client Chobham Manor LLP
In 2012 Make was commissioned by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and Chobham Manor LLP (a joint venture between Taylor Wimpey and L&Q) to design Chobham Manor – a vibrant new family-focused neighbourhood and the first of five legacy housing developments in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park following the London 2012 Summer Olympics. We worked with delivery and lead architects PRP and landscape architects Muf Architecture/Art from the design stage. Now complete, the development has won several awards, including the 2019 NLA Mayor’s Prize, for its community focus and coherent, thoughtful design.
We were involved in developing the initial masterplan and designing several building typologies across the site, from terraced homes, mews and maisonettes to mansion blocks. In line with LLDC’s vision for a family-friendly development, we dedicated more than 75% of the housing – across all typologies – to 3-bedroom homes.
Chobham Manor was delivered over a decade in four phases. The first phase has now undergone a post-occupancy evaluation, which reveals that the development’s target demographic has embraced it. The resident survey found that almost half of the households at Chobham Manor include children, and the community has a higher proportion of 31 to 45-year-olds and lower proportion of residents over 66 than surrounding areas. Ten years on, Chobham Manor has realised the original vision of a young neighbourhood for families.
The judging panel at the 2015 National Housing Awards noted: “With a focus on family housing, this scheme [has] a spark of difference. The intergenerational house really stands out, and it’s what’s needed for the future.”
Our goal from the beginning was to create a new ‘recognisably London’ neighbourhood. From the outset, we envisioned a masterplan fully integrated with the surrounding Olympic legacy site and the broader East London context, without compromising its unique sense of place. Informed by the Lea Valley landscape, we built on the typical characteristics of London’s urban areas while mediating between the green parklands and densely populated, tall residential buildings in Stratford. We followed the street pattern from the London 2012 athletes’ village to create natural permeability, resulting in a welcoming addition to the existing residential areas rather than an exclusive island development.
Along with over 850 new homes, the scheme delivers a café and local nursery, plus spacious public realm where the community can come together and children can play. We focused our designs around families, with 75% of homes in Chobham Manor including three bedrooms – a unique feature in a large-scale residential development in London. Homes are spread across a range of typologies, including maisonettes, mews and mansion blocks, and 35% of them are affordable, giving greater access to family homes in London.
Three interlinked community greens are arranged along a central spine stretching the length of the masterplan, creating an organic extension of the Olympic Park and making connections between the residential buildings and public realm. Each green has an individual character and responds to its immediate surroundings within the development.
“We set out to establish a neighbourhood where people would feel part of a place. We wanted to ensure a seamless connection with immediate neighbours and complement the rest of the Olympic legacy park. We’re proud to have driven this project from the vision for the masterplan at QRP right through to completion, and to now see residents bringing that vision to life.”
Frank Filskow, project architect, Make
The nursery building was our final project for Chobham Manor, and brings together 16 homes, a community hall, a café and a nursery for 80 children in a single striking building. Located at the eastern end of the masterplan, the building creates a recognisable arrival point that establishes the neighbourhood’s brick-based materials palette. The building’s location at a corner of the masterplan, between Temple Mills Lane and Honour Lea Avenue, inspired its unique curved form.
The nursery is situated at the heart of the building; we designed the other elements around it to prioritise safety, privacy, and a balance of indoor and outdoor play space. The residential and community entrances face the busy intersection, while the nursery is positioned towards the rear end of the building, with plenty of access to sunshine. The building is five storeys at its highest point. We maximised access to natural light with a series of stepped-back terraces, creating generous balconies for the residents while maintaining privacy and daylight for the outdoor play space. This stepping strategy also gives the building its distinctive shape.
Our nursery design was driven by several priorities: safety and privacy, flexible play space, external play space, access to sunshine and shade, and a balance of light and dark for play and rest. We developed the nursery space based on Best Practice Design Guidance for the Early Years Foundation Stage by the Department of Education. Collaboration with various local nursery owners and managers, including the LEYF nursery, the Haggerston Community Centre and the Chobham Academy Nursery, was key to our approach, helping us better understand the day-to-day operation of a London nursery.
A textured brick feature wall wraps around the nursery. Comprising 900mm brick chamfered panels that emphasise the curved facade, the feature wall was crafted using excess stock bricks from construction, minimising waste and its carbon footprint.
Our seven plots in Chobham Manor include a range of housing typologies to suit different residents, from maisonettes and mews houses through to contemporary mansion blocks. These different typologies comprise a variety of design options and levels of affordability to promote a diverse community.
The stacked maisonettes form smart, simple terraces in yellow London brick along the central green spine. Each terrace features floor-to-ceiling windows that optimise natural light and create a vertical emphasis, while textured brick panels differentiate the levels and animate the facades. Setbacks at the upper level create balconies, and all ground floor residents have large rear gardens.
The upper-level maisonette entrances are flipped: residents enter on the top floor, which houses their living room and kitchen space, with bedrooms located on the lower level. This upside-down configuration provides a much stronger connection to living spaces upon entry, and better privacy for the bedrooms. Residents in the upper-level maisonettes each have access to a private rooftop garden via an external stair on level 3 at the back of their property. Skylights in the living rooms enhance natural daylight deep into the plan.
The mews houses are tucked away in quiet lanes behind the maisonettes and mansion blocks. The laneways replicate London’s residential landscapes in a bright and spacious way. Each house contains three bedrooms, all of which are adaptable for wheelchair users, and benefits from two outdoor amenity spaces: a private rear garden and a first-floor sun terrace at the front, overlooking the laneway.
We prioritised privacy for residents, nestling the mews between the taller surrounding buildings while ensuring they aren’t overlooked. Following traditional London mews streetscapes, we’ve created spaces for tightknit street communities to form and families to grow.
We designed two mansion blocks as part of the development’s first phase. Both contain affordable housing ranging from one to three-bedroom flats, encouraging a diverse community in each block.
We reflected the layered vertical and horizontal emphasis of traditional London mansion blocks with brickwork facades, reinterpreting traditional aesthetics in a contemporary way. We used a subtle materials palette to provide an ordered, uncluttered elevation, applying modern variations of traditional materials and colours to establish a strong contemporary London appearance. Dark grey brickwork references traditional blackened London stock brick, while we emphasised the ground floor frontage with contrasting, light-coloured bricks.
- RIBA London Awards 2023 Shortlisted
- London Evening Standard New Homes Awards 2022 Winner – Best Large Development
- New London Awards 2019 Mayor's Prize
- National Housing Association Awards 2015 Winner – Best Scheme in Planning
- New London Awards 2014 Shortlisted – Housing