Forest Road

Affordable housing facing the William Morris Gallery

Forest Road frontage
Massing concept sketches

Our second project for Pocket Living in Walthamstow provides 90 affordable one-bedroom homes for local first-time buyers, on a prominent site opposite Lloyd Park and the William Morris Gallery — the Grade II* listed former home of the Arts and Crafts activist.

The triangular site has contrasting contexts, with two-storey Victorian terraced houses lining streets on two sides and the arterial Forest Road as its main frontage. Our scheme sensitively negotiates these differing characters with a sculpted massing that steps up from three to five storeys on Forest Road, re-establishing the street front on all three sides.

Hawthorne Road Corner
Hawthorne Road Corner

Just like at nearby Gainsford Road, we were tasked with achieving high density within a predominantly low-rise context. This time, there were added challenges of a town centre location with heritage value, complex geometry and ground level changes. The combination of high-quality architecture with thoughtful consideration of the public realm, designed through clear consultation with the Council and local community, were key to achieving planning consent.

Contextual and articulated massing
The proposed building sets a four-storey shoulder to Forest Road with a set back fifth storey, consistent with residential blocks east of the site.
On Gaywood Road, the proposed building modulates the height change from Forest Road, stepping down to three storeys with a set back fourth storey. The plan is also articulated to break the building’s mass along its length and match the face of adjoining terraced houses.
On Hawthorne Road, the proposed building provides a four-storey end to the street on the Forest Road corner, mirroring the relationship of the church to adjacent terraced houses.
Public consultation at One Hoe Street
Strategic design principles
The existing building (dashed) is set back from both Forest and Gaywood Roads and breaks from the street front. The proposed building improved the relationship to these streets by completing the urban block and continuing the line of street fronts on all sides.
Setting out the proposed building along the site edges also maximises the communal courtyard. A break in the massing at ground floor gives direct access from Forest Road, linking from the forecourt through the main entrance hall.
A strip of planting surrounds the building, continuing the grain of front gardens from nearby terraced houses and providing defensible space. Windows facing the street on all sides provide active frontage.

We have evolved the language of brick and precast concrete decorative details first developed at Gainsford Road, maintaining visual continuity across the two schemes to create a relatable identity whilst giving the new building at Forest Road a distinct character.

Inspired by the curved bay windows of the William Morris Gallery, lintels are gently concave to catch soft shadows that animate with changing light. This motif translates to bay windows and parapets, creating a scalloped ribbon that articulates the roofline. The material palette contains a mix of warm white, grey, plum, pink and red tones acknowledging the diverse colours of surrounding buildings, with a storey-height band of darker bricks forming a base to the building.

The William Morris Gallery
Elevations have a considered, regular rhythm of windows and an elegant roofline, and the main entrance is emphasised with a view through to the courtyard. Architectural language and details from Gainsford Road are reinterpreted at Forest Road.
Main entrance lobby

Walls with rich red-glazed ceramic tiles within a colonnade signal the main entrance, linking street front to communal courtyard. A raised corner garden facing Lloyd Park acts as a generous buffer to ground floor apartments, while creating a landscape composition with a new Tulip tree. Blank flank walls at street corners have been designated for Morris-inspired murals by local artists as part of a growing street art tradition in Walthamstow.

External materials palette for tender
External materials palette for tender
Design narrative corner
The chamfered corner to Gaywood Road is carefully treated, following local precedents, with an opportunity for public artwork or signage.
Design narrative corner
The chamfered corner to Gaywood Road is carefully treated, following local precedents, with an opportunity for public artwork or signage.
Roof terraces provide shared amenity space for residents

Whilst efficient and functional, layouts are augmented with a sense of community through a variety of shared amenities. They include two roof terraces with park views, centred around a generous, pivotal and sculptural triangular stairwell echoing the shape of the site.

Gaywood Road Corner

Further information


Walthamstow, London
Project type
Homes and mixed-use
On site
Floor area


Pocket Living
Gort Scott Team
Jay Gort, Fiona Scott, Andrew Tam, Sela-Jaymes Taylor, Barnaby Hughes, Rohullah Kazemi, Thom Wood-Jones
Boyer (planning), WT Partnership (QS), Whitby Wood (structures), XCO2 (building services), B|D Landscape Architects (landscape), JGA (fire), TPP (transport), 3cRisk (CDM), Picture Plane (visualiser)

Related Projects

Gainsford Road

Looking up at the building frontage from the footway.

Central Parade (Phase 2)

Waxwell Lane

Waxwell Lane - Mews View (square)