Mapleton Crescent, in Wandsworth town centre, UK, is the tallest private for-sale off-site volumetric modular residential tower in Europe, and sets a precedent for design-led volumetric affordable housing. Designed for Pocket Living, it provides a mix of one, two and three-bedroom homes with additional storage and communal space in the form of courtyards and roof gardens.
The tight triangular site backs onto the River Wandle and Wandsworth shopping centre, and is heavily constrained by a culvert, primary electricity substation and river wall, which led the design team to pursue off-site construction as a solution. The unique terracotta sawtooth profi le of the Mapleton Crescent facade provides a sense of depth and texture to the tower, creating a distinctive character to fulfi l Pocket Living's brief for a fl agship project of exceptional quality.
Three profi les of large terracotta tiles are used - ribbed, micro-ribbed and pleated. The profi led rainscreen facade, and use of colour creates a strong character for the building that enlivens the streetscape. The micro-ribbed tiles act to distinguish the core and plinth, while pleated tiles are reserved for gable areas and ribbed tiles pick out features such as the prominent prow, where a special corner tile was developed.
The tower uses a vertical stretcher bond of striking green, bespoke NBK terracotta rainscreen tiles approximately 1,500mm long and 450mm wide. The 450mm facade grid is aligned with the structural grid to greatly limit the number of special extrusions. Terracotta is an ideal cladding material as it wears extremely well and doesn't fade. The expressive green of the glazed terracotta underlines the uniqueness of the building, from which one can hardly turn away one's gaze.