Central Somers Town Community Facilities and Housing

Central Somers Town is an exceptional example of social housing and facilities that have been designed to meet the needs of a community. The project was nominated for the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2023. 

The exterior of Central Somers Town. a seven story block of flats with a tree in the foreground

Key information

Architect

Adam Khan Architects

Client

Camden Council

Value

Undisclosed

Year of Completion

2021

Sector

Challenge

Located in Central London close to St Pancras and Euston stations, this award-winning mixed-use development includes a community play facility, a roof-mounted 'MUGA' pitch, external play areas, an education building, and 10 residential units. Working alongside Adam Khan Architects, we provided MEP, acoustics and sustainability consultancy for the project.

The residential part of the development includes 10 social housing flats owned and operated by Camden Council. The play facilities building houses the Plot 10 Community Play Project and After School and Breakfast Club, an organisation that has been at the heart of the local community for 50 years; and the education building provides the base for Scene and Heard, a mentoring charity that partners local children with volunteer arts professionals. 

The environmental design was developed with a 'passive first' approach with a high standard of thermal insulation, building air tightness, daylight and natural ventilation. The apartments have exceptional passive cooling features. The windows have solar control glazing to provide good daylight without excessive solar heat gain. Further solar control is provided by movable external shutter shading that can block the heat from intense summer sun but allow sunlight and heat to enter during winter.

Video for RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist 2023

Designing for future climate scenarios

The building is constructed from dense concrete blockwork with wet applied dense plaster, rather than cheaper lightweight plasterboard walls. This dense construction, exposed to internal room air provides lots of thermal mass, which soaks up heat from the sun and other sources, keeping the interior cool during summer. The thermal mass is used in conjunction with night-time ventilation cooling via window and vent openings that are secure and rain-sheltered so that occupants feel confident that they can be left open at night.

With excellent daylight throughout the spaces, the building façade and roof design balance the glazed and insulated solid areas to optimise energy performance while maintaining views in and out of the building.

35% reduction in CO₂ emissions relative to Part-L

2-5% daylight factor

100% affordable housing

“Really, this shouldn’t be a rarity: a public building, providing a much-needed service to local children, to-the-point and thoughtful, that together with some new social housing forms part of a larger ensemble, which helps to shape a public green space and playground, with which the new building will interact."

Rowan Moore, Architecture Critic, The Observer Read more
2023 RIBA Stirling Prize Shortlist
2023 RIBA National Award
2023 RIBA London Award
2023 Civic Trust Award