Made in Brockley masterpiece for Breakspears Road

In contrast to the sorry mess proposed for Brockley Cross comes this plan for a 5-bedroom house on an empty plot on Breakspears Road, submitted for approval recently.
Conceived by regular BCer Richard and designed by local architect Gruff, the plan is a hybrid house - Victorian replica at the front, modernist at the back. The approach respects the Conservation Area while allowing them to have some fun with the interior spaces. The result is about as good as anyone could ever hope for and will clean up a spot which had become a dumping ground for anyone with an old tyre to chuck.

This is how you do pastiche - go big or go home. Richard is spending a lot of money to get the details right - embellishments that the Victorians used to knock out in the thousands now have to be specially-made. In the long-run, however, paying attention to the detail is probably a pretty good investment.

It's the kind of ambitious design we forecast for 2014, but one which complements the character of the street. More of this sort of thing please.

41 comments:

Emma said...

Does it have a basement level as well?

Andrea said...

Why is pastiche acceptable at the front? Something like the back, but a bit more adventurous, should be provided at the front.

Wendy said...

Wonder how much that will go for...

Brockley Nick said...

Why wouldn't pastiche be acceptable? For one thing, the conservation area guidelines encourage continuity, not difference. For another, this isn't really pastiche, it's replica. Thirdly, I like modern architecture as much anyone but absolutists positions are silly - good architecture is good architecture. Period doesn't matter, ambition, care and attention to detail matters.

Brockley Nick said...

He's building it to live in himself.

Tj said...

This is really positive news. I remember the Brockley Society taking a strong stance against the previous tiled monstrosity that a developer proposed for this spot.

heckmcbuff said...

It's better than the last piece of dog's pooo pooo that you attempted to expose us to. What do you think???

Brockley Gus said...

Fantastic news - this plot has been an empty mess since I moved to Brockley.

maisie_moo said...

Pastiche/replica is "acceptable" because it will be in harmony with its surroundings. Why should every new build draw attention to itself?

TJ said...

Jpm - why not join the Brockley Society? Im sure every organisation benefits from a balance of views - and rather than disband something that DOES legitimate and useful work for the area, why not try to influence it? Or is it not worth your free time?

Stephen said...

Oh dear the age old "harmony = looking the same as everything else" argument. There is little hope. Continuity shouldn't mean replication.

Tim said...

I agree that is seems strange that somehow Brockley Society have been appointed as the representative of Brockleyites opinion to Lewisham planning, without most Brockleyites being aware of the fact. Maybe the Brockley Society could be a little more proactive about advertising the fact that Lewisham Council seem to listen them and they therefore have a great deal of influence over the aesthetics of the area.
I do also agree that people who have a real issue should get involved with the Society, and that complaining about it without acting is a little useless.

maisie_moo said...

I don't see any downside to the proposed design. I like some of the modern buildings in Brockley, but don't see why something boxy should be the automatic choice. *prepares for next smug, patronising response*

ME said...

JPM - your comments are offensive to the huge amount of unpaid and usually unacknowledged work that members of the Brockley Society do on your behalf. As TJ says, stop griping, inform yourself properly and/or get involved. By the way, I think it's a great solution in an eyesore of a building site that has been left empty for too long.

Woman of Brockley said...

If you live in the Brockley conservation area you are automatically a member of the Brockley Society and get the newsletter. Nobody who reads the newsletter could be unaware that BrocSoc takes a great deal of interest in planning matters. It's available online as well. I doubt Lewisham planners defer to BrocSoc on planning issues outside the conservation area, as BrocSoc has no remit to represent those areas. They had a try when they attempted to derail the Gordonbrock School rebuild a few years ago, and that fortunately came to nothing.

JPM said...

My comments were actually meant to be offensive. Brockley Society does not do anything on my behalf. Due to some of the members of the Society - not all - I have had a very long battle with a developer for 4 years now. (That was the second developer, the first made it a total of 10 years - and climbing.)

I have no issue with a house being built on the site mentioned. I know the neighbour next door to it has fought long and hard to get one placed there.
My problem is, and shall always be, that you should think Brockley society speaks for the community.

Whether the Society members are paid or not is irrelevant. Save to say that a payment was accepted by Brocsoc from a developer in one instance, and that its members now hold meetings in the property of another developer that I have been fighting against for the years mentioned. But a slight correction:

Not everyone in Brockley Society acts selflessly. Neither do I allow Brockley Society to speak for me. Nor do the residents of Brockley give their consent to it as spokesperson; anymore than a dead person allows the Latter Day Saints to baptise them, notably after death.

I should also correct you too in stating that TJ said I was 'griping'. He asked me why I did not join and try to influence the Society. But why doesn't he and you? (I did 'join' by the way.)
As for my free time TJ enquires about. I did not recall meeting him at Brockley Station clearing the land ready for planting. Nor on the various other community issues in which I involved myself in my 'free' time. Nor do I recall the name "TJ" or "ME" at countless planning meetings.
Unless of course you were represented by Brockley Society. In which case the defence rests..

Headhunter said...

The best example of pastiche near here is the flats built near the corner of Arbuthnot Rd and Jerningham Rd... It's an amazing replica of Victorian architecture. At 1st glance you'd never guess it hadn't been built at the same time as the rest of the street...

TJ said...

Jpm - first point is that i may think i am represented by Broc Soc, so may not need to join. However: I have been to planning meetings (including the one the residents led against the proposal before this), regularly send in individual objections to schemes in the conservation area that I think do not follow the guidelines, had street trees planted, have helped out at the annual Fayre, helped fundraise for the Winter Warmer event, was secretary for Broc Soc (aha!) for a number of years in the past, which included many evenings attending meetings with residents, councils etc just to take the minutes. I gave that up as there was a need to join Brockley Leaseholder Association that successfullly fought against Lewisham Council on behalf of all council leaseholders. And do you know what, many in Broc Soc have different ideas about what is good or bad, or have the guidelines should be followed and they discuss them and try to do what is best. So AS I SAID why dont you join and use your influence there?

Tj said...

Theres a new house at the top end of Cranfield - seemless fit. I dont mind excellent new architecture - but prefer pastiche (or replicating) rather than mediocrity

ME said...

You assume that those posting here are not involved in the work of The Brockley Society. You know full well that Lewisham Planning Dept enforces what can and can't be done/built in the conservation area. These are national guidelines. BrocSoc is sent all planning applications relevant to the conservation area and attends the local Amenity Society Panels (hosted/run by Lewisham Planning) with members of all the conservation societies across the borough. BrocSoc's powers are very proscribed. Lewisham Planning has most of the power. BrocSoc does not claim to represent all the residents of the area, and is nothing like as powerful as your depict, but its work is nonetheless important and valuable.

Tom said...

God reading the NIMBY comments here would put anyone off building anything in Brockley.

Robert said...

BrocSoc reviewed these proposals at our last meeting, and we thought they were great. Like in this thread, there was some discussion on whether a more modern interpretation of the front of the house might be more interesting, but the general consensus was that the final result ticks all the boxes for good infill development, so why argue the toss. This is how Richard wanted his house to look and it looks fantastic.

In earlier pre-consultation meetings - we gauged that the architect and his client had a good grip on how the scheme was developing, so we opted to defer the detailed consultation to the next door neighbour. I don't think that was unreasonable considering it is their property they are building off. I believe everyone was happy with the end result.

So well done Richard, and well done Gruff - we look forward to seeing the finished building.

Robert said...

NIMBY is a horrible acronym. It was invented by developers, planners and designers as a verbal cosh to denigrate anyone who expresses an opinion or cares about the state of the area where they live. It came from a feeling that these three professions should have sole ownership of how cities develop.

Unless the development literally is in your back yard - then I suppose it is appropriate.

Headhunter said...

Yeah, yeah, NIMBY, blah, blah... Anyone who ever expresses an opinion on how to improve appearances in our area on this site gets branded a NIMBY... Basically unless you walk around moaning about how sh1t Brockley is, eating fried chicken and dropping the bones on the ground (which people's dogs then choke on) you're a NIMBY... Yawn

terrencetrentderby said...

Has Brockley become Kensington?

Who do you guys think you are?!

Brockley Nick said...

What does that even mean?

terrencetrentderby said...

Old man Brockley Nick with his finger on the button

Brockley Nick said...

Which bit of your original post was achingly hip?

terrencetrentderby said...

Where do you really live?

JPM said...

"Unless the development literally is in your back yard - then I suppose it is appropriate."
The irony... lends itself.

JPM said...

Sorry, but it is you who made the assumption. I corrected it. I have contributed to Brockley Society and other groups over the years, and been 'active'. You assumed I had not.
Lewisham planning Department may enforce, from time to time, as you claim, but it can also be misled into thinking (when it suits) that tis relatively small bunch of people promote the views of the many. They do not.
National guidelines are ignored, and sometimes manipulated to suit tastes. (Ooh big conspiracy.)
Of course Lewisham Planning has most of the power, you're right, and a tiny, infinitely small band of councillors, and Brocsoc does do much valuable work. Unfortunately sometimes it also gets things gobsmackingly wrong. Aligning itself too closely with a developer, now invited on to its board, is one.

JPM said...

I agree totally.

Michael said...

While I would go for something more contemporary on the front, given the amount of bad architecture around would happily settle for this. A positive addition to Breakspears Road.

JPM said...

If you read my previous post you will see that I did join. I realised that my influence was best used elsewhere.

Stephen said...

You wrongly assume that I was criticising the design and are missing the point. This is in my opinion quite a good scheme. I have not read the planning history but suspect that the planners and others forced the architects to produce a replica building at the front in order for it to gain consent. I can see the reasoning in completing the other half of the building but it would have been interesting to do a modern interpretation of a victorian facade with subtle changes in the detailing rather than attempting to make it look like it was built a hundred years ago.

Anon said...

JPM name them please.

maisie_moo said...

And there it is.


You wrongly assume that my stance wouldn't allow for subtle modern details. How nice that we agree, and how unfortunate that you felt the need to adopt such an unpleasant tone in your first comment.


And it's hardly suprising that I "missed the point", given the context of the comment I was responding to (that "something like the back but a bit more adventurous" should be incorporated.) If you don't want to be misunderstood you need to express yourself more clearly (and preferably, politely).

notinmybhole said...

I love a good NIMBY argument

Robert said...

There is an irrational tendency to presume that anyone who is interested in buildings and urbanism, is posh and moneyed. Or an outsider. I had a very entertaining argument with someone in the pub last week, who told me that an interest in culture and architecture was "petty bourgeoisie".

Mezzer said...

I hope this stays too, as it does provide an insight into what are often referred to as nimby concerns - in this instance there does seem to be a genuine attempt to scupper an application on false pretenses and I for one would like to see the response from the complainant.

Sally said...

I am shocked. Why would someone do this?

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