Self-build housing, Tilbury,
Essex, UK, 1998

This new building represented the first stage of a community regeneration programme for the Broadway Estate in Tilbury, originally built in the 1960s. The building was partly constructed by the future residents working alongside the contractor – a system known as 'assisted self-build' that aims to involve future residents in the process of construction to develop skills, independence and, through participation, a communal sense of ownership in the project.

Its brief reflected the demand for small apartments prevalent in the area. A courtyard was established to create a territory for social exchanges that is unambiguous in its ownership and limits; and a building with an open veranda was designed to align with and complete the adjacent housing terrace. The veranda at first floor level and a raised boardwalk at ground level reflect the building’s multiple occupancy and display the main social spaces to view.

External walls are clad on three sides with cement panels. On the veranda side, walls are clad with larch-faced timber boards, which extend to form the soffit of the overhanging canopy, creating what feels like a protected environment.

Project duration: 2001-2003
Contract value: £570,000
Gross internal area: 498 m2

Housing Design Award 2003
Wood Award 2003

Photographs: David Grandorge