SPPARC is a renowned London based studio of architects, designers and thinkers. Our design philosophies are innovative, yet pragmatic with a fluid style.

Verney Road


Sustainable development, good urban design and strong architectural detailing are the key principles that have informed the design – the form, scale and mass of Verney Road ensures its integration and interconnection into an area under transition.


The site is located in the north of the London Borough of Southwark at the convergence of three wards – Livesey, South Bermondsey and East Walworth and formally comprised of two separate addresses and uses; 6-8 Verney Road and 10-12 Verney Road. These have now been combined to form a single development site of 0.74 hectares.
The Grand Surrey Canal ran immediately to the south of the site providing connections to Peckham, Walworth and the former Surrey Commercial Docks.
In close proximity to the Old Kent Road, the area is under significant transition having been designated as an Opportunity Area in need of regeneration through the Borough’s Area Action Plan.
The existing site is made up of a series of low-level industrial buildings of poor architectural quality and of no townscape merit.
The building programme in itself is inspiring, to create and deliver one of the first residentially led mixed use developments on a brown field site in the heart of one of London’s most exciting Opportunity Areas.
Form the earliest stages of defining the building brief, the philosophies of the AAP has influenced the design and layout of the site both internally and externally.
The concept and architectural approach has been derived through the desire to promote community within the residential elements of the development through the layout and format of the architecture and to engage the street scene with glimpses and a sense of the internal functions particularly within the ground floor commercial units.
Influence and inspiration for the architectural expression and language of the site has been found in the industrial heritage of the area.
The use of strong masonry corners that define the street scene fronting Verney Road and the lateral park that is to shadow the route of the Grand Surrey Canal take their reference from the robust masonry warehouse buildings that once dominated the area.
The industrial strength of the past is reflected in the detailing of the large format windows with vertical expression of the glazing bars and frames set within deep cast reveals, whilst it is the projecting balconies that puncture through the masonry with architectural rigour and purpose that characterise the scheme.
The punctuation of the balconies has taken influence from the timber yards synonymous with the area that once flanked the Grand Surrey Canal, with their stacked lumber creating amazing geometric shapes and structural wonder.
The ‘stacking’ and ‘projecting’ of the concreate balconies that will have the timber formwork permanently cast as an attractive reminder of the areas past.
The building has been designed to accommodate the specific employment needs of the area today whilst facilitating adaptable expansion spaces over the next 10 years as the requirements of the commercial space will change with improvements to the transport infrastructure most importantly including the arrival of the Bakerloo line.
The scheme provides 340 quality new homes including 36% on site affordable housing.
The interest in the massing is created at the base of the scheme with an outer form that follows the historic building line of Verney Road, the erosion of the inner form to create a series of courtyards has been conceived as an extension of the street and is used as a mechanism to give the elbow room for the scale of the towers to grow out of the ground.
The visual recognition of the different building uses provides the opportunity to introduce a differing façade expression to respond to each component unified by the binding character of expressed balconies to the external treatment to become the ‘gel’ that subtly unites the form at both the lower and upper levels.
The simplicity of the architectural composition, its civic scale and its height and mass, all help to lift its townscape status so that it contributes to the way-finding urban legibility, which is a desired aspiration of parallel Old Kent Road routes to the proposed underground stations.
There are two main routes into and through the site. The main north-south axis to the east of the site will link Verney Road to the future development areas to the south passing across the green corridor while a diagonal route will access the site further to the west and connect to the main north-south axis to the south of Building 02. This route will also provide more informal paths across the green corridor by Buildings 01 and 02.
These routes will be defined by fastigate tree planting to provide wayfinding across the Site and reflect the transition from the more urban Verney Road street frontage to the green corridor with adjacent informal flowering tree groups and planting areas.
The routes will allow provision for required vehicle access and turning within the integrated hard and soft landscape layout while also linking with the two main public spaces associated with the courtyards of Buildings 02 and 03.

Public Spaces

Two main public spaces are defined by the courtyards created by Buildings 02 and 03. The courtyard associated with Building 02 will provide breakout space for the adjacent commercial units including seating, social space and play space for 12+ year olds. This space will be defined by planting beds, a lawn and flowering trees.
The courtyard formed by Building 03 relates to the residential and community units and has been created as a more intimate space with communal gardens and play space for younger children.

Green Corridor

The green corridor will form a significant green space along the southern boundary of the site and will provide a natural undulating landscape with informal groups of trees, planting and wildflowers to create a series of habitats to encourage wildlife and biodiversity. The corridor will also include play space and natural play opportunities.