4. Streatham Street Model Dwellings (Parnell House) 1850 (Henry Roberts) London

Originally known as Ashlyn’s Buildings this is one of the earliest examples of a gallery access housing scheme. Access to the dwellings is via a stair in the passage between the street and courtyard. The courtyard is not crossed or entered as part of the entry sequence. The transition from street into the block is abrupt and consciously so, the idea being to leave the city behind. The galleries are well contained within the form of the building expressed by the brick piers and arches. There is a view into the courtyard as you enter; the galleries re-connect with the courtyard providing a visual ‘centre’ for the project.

There is some appropriation of the gallery through the placement of flower boxes and this practice seems to go back a way (it can be seen in the black & white image below). As evidenced in one of the images the gallery is wide enough for temporary storage of items. Both indicate some understanding of the gallery as a minor extension of the home.

Schema

  • street (city) ⇒ step (threshold) ⇒ main door (boundary) ⇒ hallway (threshold) ⇒ stair (ascend) ⇒ gallery adjacent to courtyard ⇒ door (five to six)

Unit identity

  • Weak on the exterior; doors clearly visible from court; unit limits are not emphasised.

digimap Streatham Street

See also:

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