LHA Torquay House, a 13 storey tower in Paddington for the LHA London charity, is featured in a building review by Mike Stiff in Architecture Today this month. The 157 room, MJP Architects designed building was completed earlier this year.
This flagship development will give our student and working residents the very best living experience and allow them to stay right in the City of Westminster for so much less
The building is on a difficult but spectacular site next to the “Westway” elevated section of the A40, with magnificent views over London. The design mitigates the effects of high road noise levels and air pollution and overcomes hostile environmental conditions to achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ sustainability rating. It makes a major contribution to Westminster’s Westbourne Green Masterplan for improving the neighbourhood, with the ground floor frontage, public art, and modelling and colour of the elevations enlivening the streetscape. Accessible landscaped and planted roof terraces provide resident amenity spaces on this tight urban site.
The building is on a difficult but spectacular site next to the Westway
There is strong demand in Central London for accommodation which is a step up from conventional student rooms or hostel, and 80% of the rooms are therefore designed as ‘microflats’ with a larger floor area, their own kitchenettes, study areas and shower rooms. The remaining 20% are ensuite with shared kitchens. The design promotes conviviality by placing social spaces and shared facilities (residents’ gym, laundry, study areas, common rooms) in ‘hotspots’, near lifts, stairs, and at circulation nodes. These communal spaces are designed to animate both the life of the building and its architecture.
Modern Methods of Construction
The façade is assembled from unitised precast white concrete panels with cast-in fluted orange faïence ceramic reveals
Off-site fabrication has been used to maintain quality and speed up construction. The façade was pre-assembled off-site, shower rooms, kitchenettes, and stair modules were factory built, and all vertical elements of the superstructure were precast in concrete. The façade was assembled from unitised precast white concrete panels with cast-in fluted orange faïence ceramic reveals. Bronze anodised windows were factory fitted to achieve high levels of airtightness, and the glazing has one of the lowest g-values available along with excellent acoustic insulation standards. The white concrete panels, which are lightly acid etched and which have a distinctive “riven” texture, were manufactured in Belgium by Decomo SA. Decomo have worked with MJP before, notably on St John’s College Oxford Kendrew Quadrangle
The charity was founded in 1940 by Baroness Spencer-Churchill and provides low cost accommodation for students and young working people. Most residents are between the ages of 18 and 30 and stay whilst they get established in the capital. MJP have previously designed the RIBA, Civic Trust and National Housing Design award winning Friendship House for the LHA in Southwark. Within a limited budget, MJP’s design has provided a distinctive identity and an attractive living environment, which has contributed to its popularity and a continuous demand for rooms.