Driscoll House, located on New Kent Road close to the Elephant & Castle, London, was a former Edwardian Women’s Lodging House which had become a Commonwealth student hostel. It was listed Grade II for its special historic interest during the planning process to replace it. Internally there were a few interesting communal rooms and a laundry in the basement.
GRID developed a residential scheme with a glass-topped atrium within the existing courtyard; ensuring that the fabric of the existing building is preserved and solving access issues by incorporating all vertical and horizontal circulation. The atrium is reached via a new ramped tunnel link from the higher, west courtyard space, which boldly strikes through and into a new lower, communal garden at the east. A brass-clad ‘box’, housing ten unique apartments is designed to float between the two brickwork wings with a minimal glass junction. Driscoll House is a great example of how preservation not only creates inventive solutions to enhance both the existing and the new – but is a sound environmental response which reduces costs, energy, disruption and waste.