Modular housing development, Mountearl Gardens achieves practical completion

With the Government’s recent announcement that more homes in the UK should be built using the modular housing concept to meet the acute housing shortage, one architectural practice and developer have just achieved practical completion on its modular site in London.

Mountearl Gardens in Streatham Hill, designed by leading architecture and design practice, HKR Architects and built by affordable housing developer Pocket, provides 29 one bedroom apartments, three, two bedroom apartments and a wheelchair accessible unit.

The development, built on a redundant single storey garage site off Mountearl Gardens in Streatham Hill, was designed to create a domestic scaled, elegantly proportioned and visually interesting building, which can be built quicker and result in a higher quality finish.

The scheme was delivered in BIM, greatly facilitating the manufacture process. HKR was able to directly share and develop the building model with the fabrication team, testing build-ability, coordination, and improving cost certainty and programme. Using BIM at the appropriate level of detail ensured a greater accuracy, mitigating the risk of on-site discrepancies and ensuring greater quality off-site fabrication.

The modules were completely finished internally in the factory with some minor finishing once on site. They were delivered complete with windows, doors, insulation, plumbing, wiring and ducting. Upon delivery they were then slotted into place as final services were connected on site.

Geoff Brocklehurst, Director at HKR Architects comments:

“As a practice we have been involved in the modular housing concept for nearly ten years and through our work with developers such as Pocket, we have perfected our design methods to deliver a product which is architecturally appealing but has the ability to be built at a reduced budget and quicker than traditional build.”

“Mountearl Gardens is a prime example. The apartments have been cleverly designed to feel much larger with floor to ceiling windows to allow in natural light, plenty of storage to reduce clutter, room for a dining table and chairs and underfloor heating so furniture can be placed wherever residents want it and don’t have unwanted radiators in the way. The majority of the building was constructed off-site and delivered to site over a three-week period, resulting in a real reduction in on-site wastage and disturbance to the local community.”

Modern methods of construction (MMC) resulted in significantly less disruption to local residents –  60 per cent fewer trucks coming to site and 90per cent less waste. It is also estimated that MMC reduced the project time by six months. However, this hasn’t meant an adverse impact on quality; Pocket’s high build and sustainability standards are always maintained.

One of Pocket’s most striking distinctions is that buyers own 100% of their home which differs from more complicated shared equity schemes. The apartments were sold outright at a price that was at least 20% cheaper than the average home in the same area.

HKR is currently working on two other Pocket Living projects, Juxon Street and Sail Street, both scheduled to finish in January 2017. Identical modules have been created across the three projects, but are designed and assembled to create three distinctly different schemes. The sites are constructed concurrently, requiring additional coordination to ensure factory slots, delivery and sequencing across all sites is meeting programme.

Marc Vlessing, CEO of Pocket, said:

“Pocket is always looking for new and innovative ways to help house London’s first time buyers. What we have done at Mountearl Gardens is hugely exciting as it has significantly sped up the delivery of affordable homes for local people, whilst at the same time reducing the disruption to local residents.”

HKR Architects has a track-record of delivering significant residential-led mixed-use projects both locally and internationally and have delivered over £5bn of residential development in the last 10 years, amounting to over 18,000 units including around 3,000 units using MMC’s, including volumetric methodologies. HKR is one of a small number of practices with the working knowledge and practical experience to develop deliverable modular solutions.

For further information about HKR Architects please visit