Brick has been a fundamental component of the wider development allowing the development to sit more favourably in the wider Georgian brick suburb but also tying together the different phases of Elephant Park that have been designed by a number of different architectural practices – each of which uses different brick tones, features and bonds as the key expression of architectural intent.
Park Central is a mixed-use development featuring 890 homes alongside retail/leisure units. Brick is the key feature to the lower level blocks which make up the largest share of the developments footprint – with buildings ranging between 9 and 12 storeys.
The design of the brick buildings draws inspiration from the London mansion block - particularly those that are park facing. Norman Shaw’s Albert Court is a exceptional model for high-density housing; symptomatic of the characteristics that make the residential buildings of Kensington, Marylebone and indeed parts of Southwark some of the most influential historic precedents. Mansion blocks in these areas range between five and ten storeys with continuous street frontages, defining a clear front, side and back. Repetitive sash windows, bay windows, splayed windows, string brickwork courses, cornices, stone quoins, stone lintels and flourishing roofscapes are common devices that their architects have used to balance proportions
Brickwork concepts for the mansion blocks aim to re-contextualise and expand upon the qualities of historically significant brick buildings surrounding the site. Taking hues from prevailing buff and dark brown brickwork in the context, the narrative is one which plays with brickwork tones, bonds and patterns. The Imperial War Museum (Grade II Listed), Elliott’s Row (Conservation Area), Bath Terrace and Victory Primary School feature predominately light brick with areas of fine Flemish brickwork or feature band detailing. In contrast, Trinity Church Square (Grade II Listed, Conservation Area), the Rockingham Estate and Driscoll House (Grade II Listed) provide darker tones of brickwork with similar fenestration throughout the detailing. Within the overall facade strategy, brickwork is articulated with light buildings onto Park Promenade, dark buildings onto New Kent Road and a link building that mixes contrasting tones providing a transition along Lion Way. The courtyard is lighter still, mimicking traditional mansion blocks and the base and feature bands are fenestrated with texture that mixes light and dark bricks and feature bonds.
Whilst there is limited articulation of the brickwork there is a significant brick diaper work of varying and contrasting mixes of the three different bricks. These required skilful management and setting out and a high attention to detail to keep the bond correct and aligned to produce: