Phase 1 of the Queen's Road Estate -developed between 1971 and 1983 by London and Quadrant Homes Ltd for Richmond Parish Lands Charity and designed by the architects Darbourne and Darke - including covered passages, paved brick walkways, kerbs and parking bays attached to houses fronting Hobart Place and Reynolds Place, boundary walls and wall-mounted street signage.
Reason for Listing
Phase I of Queen's Road Estate is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: inventive and dynamic housing design with a consistent and expressive attention to detail, executed in high quality materials;
* Plan: achieves the spirit of community demanded of the brief for mixed housing through a tight network of blocks of varied height and profiles, using a repeated palette of forms and units, and through intimate spaces, linked by covered walkways and open paths, the entrances glimpsed from the existing roads.
* Intactness: aside from specifically-commissioned replacement window and door units, there has been very little alteration;
* Setting: integrated designed landscape which extends to hard surfaces, boundary fences and planting and the retention of existing trees, with the result that the scheme sits well in the existing streetscape;
* Authorship: high reputation of the architects Darbourne and Darke, for their influential, sensitive and highly successful approach to housing, in this case designed for Richmond Parish Lands Charity.
The Queen's Road Estate was developed between 1971 and the early 1990s by London and Quadrant Housing Ltd on land owned by Richmond Parish Lands Charity between Richmond Park and Queen's Road. The Trustees of the Charity aimed to provide housing for lower and middle income families to a standard normally seen in private housing schemes, to encourage them to stay in the area which increasingly lacked affordable housing. The northern end of the site had already been earmarked for a new school while it was also their intention to include a community centre and to provide self-contained accommodation for the elderly. The Grade II listed workhouse buildings and the streets of C19 houses leading to Queen's Road that intersect the site were to be retained, the former converted to housing. The development was complicated by a proposed route for the Petersham bypass, a scheme which was eventually dropped in 1976.
Designs were selected by competition and the winning architects, Darbourne and Darke, submitted the first draft of a master plan in November 1972, with three options of different densities, varying from 72 to 92 persons per acre. The brief stipulated six types of rented accommodation, aimed specifically at young couples and families with young children. Based on the principles behind integrated, community-oriented, simple, practical low-rise housing that had won them acclaim at Lillington Gardens, Vauxhall in the early 1960s, the master plan considered every aspect, from socio-economic and financial issues to the dynamics and physical flow within the site and importantly, the integration of the scheme within the landscape. The development comprised terraced houses, maisonettes and a few small flats, served by a network of pedestrian paths or service roads behind the Queen's Road frontage. Each had access to a private garden or roof terrace and looked out onto open spaces, either paved courtyards or lawns. Where possible mature trees were retained.
The scheme was set out in three phases. Phase 1 comprised 91 units on a c.3 acre plot between Cambrian Road and Stafford Place and fronting Queens Road. Work started on site in February 1978 and the housing was formally opened in April 1983. Meanwhile work had begun on Phase 2, providing 133 units, built on a rectangular, c 4.8 acre plot at the northern end of the site, between Greville Road and Park Hill. Phase 3, for 100 or so units on the central site of c 5.7 acres, was started in the later 1980s and was developed in part by Fairbriar Homes Ltd.
Phase 1 stands out for the quality of the architecture which is inventive and dynamic and executed in high quality materials. It achieves the spirit of community demanded of the brief through a tight network of blocks of varied height and profiles, using a repeated recipe of forms and units; also through intimate spaces, linked by covered walkways and open paths, the entrances glimpsed from the existing roads. Attention to detail that integrates the site is high, extending to the hard landscape such as the ceramic street signage, brick paviors used on the paths and to outline kerbs and parking areas and coarse concrete aggregate used in sloping driveways. Wherever possible there are views of trees and greenery from the flats and houses, which are screened from the main road and adjacent streets, providing privacy and reducing the impact of the new development. A small playground was built into the communal space at the rear of Hobart Place where the ground opens out, giving space for gardens and added parking. Phase 1 which is included in the listing is described in the Details. Phases 2 and 3 are not included in the listing, but Phase 2 in particular is significant as part of Darbourne and Darke's development.
Phase 2, on a larger and more open site, was set out in a looser and architecturally less inventive arrangement than Phase 1. It comprises groups of mixed two and three storey flats, maisonettes and terraced houses of one to four bedrooms, some with a garage, overlooking an informal network of footpaths paved in brick, and squares set out with lawns and mature trees, enclosed by timber fences and hedges. To the east houses overlook open wooded land adjacent to the cemetery and Richmond Park. Road access was limited to the perimeter of the site. Like Phase 1, it has proved highly successful in social terms. It is laid out in terraces and informally linked groups of two and three and occasionally four storey units where individual units are indicated by brick buttresses. Like Phase 1, architectural detail is consistent throughout the phase however it was built in a lighter buff-brown brick than the richly coloured darker brick which was a feature of Lillington Gardens and of Phase 1. Most entrances have glazed porches, those at upper level reached by brick steps with steel balustrades. Window and most door units were replaced in 2011 with aluminium units finished in brown to match the original timber units which, like Phase 1, were painted brown. The new units have an added transom to conform with current building regulations.
Phase 3 was developed in different phases by separate developers and architects. It comprised a community centre, terraced housing and detached units to the north of Cambrian Road and south of Park Hill and leading off Grove Road to the west of the former workhouse. While similar to Phase 2, it is expressed in a reduced architectural manner, with stripped-down detail that lacks the consistent high quality of the earlier phases. Blocks developed by Fairbriar Homes are a late 1980s interpretation of the symmetrical mid-C19 villa, with raised entrances beneath set-back porches.
The practice of Darbourne and Darke was set up in 1961 following John Darbourne's successful entry for the Lillington Street Housing competition (LB Westminster), and Geoffrey Darke being awarded second prize for the Harlow competition. Darbourne and Darke were based in Richmond, where they rebuilt their office in a highly sensitive, architecturally rich environment overlooking Richmond Green. The Lillington Gardens scheme, Vauxhall (listed Grade II* and II) is recognised as one of the outstanding housing schemes of its time, and influenced the style of public housing schemes from the mid-1960s until the 1980s. The Queen's Road scheme reflects the concept devised for Lillington Gardens of simple practical design built on a human scale within landscaped grounds. This scheme was praised in the architectural press at the time and the elevational drawings provided the frontispiece of the catalogue of the Heinz Gallery exhibition of the architects' work in 1977. The History of Richmond Parish Lands (1992) gives a detailed account of the project.
MATERIALS: red-brown brick with flush dressings in similar brick. Where visible, slate roofs. Window and door units recently replaced in brown-finished, aluminium, double-glazed units to match the originals. Steel balustrade to steps and balconies. Post and rail fences with timber posts and tubular steel rails. Ceramic street signage. Brick paving; coarse aggregate concrete driveways.
PLAN: informal arrangement of close-knit two, three and four-storey flats, maisonettes and houses of one to four bedrooms, some with a garage, set out in groups and terraces, laid out on a 1.18 ha site. Designed to accommodate 370 people in 91 two- to seven-person units. To the south of Hobart Place these face Queen's Road and overlook an enclosed courtyard to the rear that is reached from Sayers Walk and by footpaths which cut through the terraces. The northern sections comprise terraced houses and maisonettes, overlooking Hobart Place and Reynolds Place to the west which serve as service roads, and look out towards Queen's Road while screened from the main road by a belt of trees and shrubs. To the east the layout opens out and is set into the side of the hill where houses overlook small private gardens and, south of Chisholm Road, a small communal playground. Footpaths lined with planting cut through to Chisholm Road and link Chisholm Road to Cambrian Road. The site butts onto the existing houses in Chisholm and Cambrian Roads and backs onto woodland and Richmond Park.
EXTERIOR: the southern group are an irregularly massed group of attached houses, maisonettes and flats, with both pitched and flat roofs, some with offset entrances beneath sloping-roofed porches, some reached via brick steps with brick parapets and steel balustrades. The Queen's Road elevation is set behind a brick wall. Passages cut through at ground level provide entry to and glimpses of the secluded inner courtyard. Upper floors overlooking the courtyard have windows opening onto steel balconies and flush dormers which rise above the roofline.
The northern groups facing Hobart Place and Reynolds Place are designed as regular terraces of two and three-storey units set over garages at semi-basement level. Blocky, flat-roofed projecting bays alternate with recessed entrance bays which have sloping, sometimes glazed, porches and slate-hung upper floors. The northern angles with Chisholm and Cambrian Roads are offset and set back from the road behind trees, mitigating the impact of the development on the existing street plan. Entrances on the angles have glazed porches between brick cheeks while some windows have plain projecting brick architraves. Entrances at raised ground level are linked by terraces and steps with steel balustrades. Flush, rectangular, dormer windows project above the roof line while upper floors at the rear also have windows opening onto steel balconies. Behind the road frontages the blocks are grouped informally with the upper flats served by brick steps. Those at the rear of the site overlook lawns and woodland. Throughout, windows, and most door units to the rear, have been replaced in aluminium, double-glazed units finished in brown to match the original timber units which were painted brown. The new units have an added transom to conform with current building regulations.
Street names are inscribed in flush ceramic panels set into the brickwork. At junctions with public roads the space surrounding the buildings is defined by brick parapet walls and post and rail fences that define its margins without creating barriers. At the rear, gardens are contained behind brick walls and fences. Road and pavement surfaces are integral to the design, where pedestrian areas are paved and often stepped and sloping driveways are laid in a coarse concrete aggregate lined in flush brick, to give a better grip as well as adding texture to flat surfaces that integrates them within the scheme.
Phases 2 and 3 of the development are not included in the listing.
INTERIORS: not inspected.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.