Old Kent Road Opportunity Area – some thoughts

I thought I would just post a few photographs of some sites on the Old Kent Road which illustrate why there are opportunities there for it to be identified as such by The Mayor of London, and of some nearby areas which are quite different from the road itself.

This is typical of many sites along the Old Kent Road with large car parks which do nothing to make the road an attractive place or contribute to it’s vitality:
Old Kent Road Sept 2012 Car Park

Too many low rise warehouse like retail units have been built which present blank faces to the public realm:

Old Kent Road Sept 2012 Carpet Right Low Rise

or contribute little to place-making despite there being plenty of room to do so:

Old Kent Road Sept 2012 KFC Low Rise

To those moving along the Old Kent Road, of which there are many as it is a major route from South East London and its suburbs into central London, the whole image is very poor which leads those who don’t know the area to assume that the whole place is awful.

But behind the Old Kent Road itself, just a few yards away in some cases, are places like this:

Old Kent Road Sept 2012 Neo Georgian

and this:

Old Kent Road Sept 2012 Just Off Villas

The frontage of the Old Kent Road has the room to provide new and additional homes (and other facilities), and can be done (if done properly) without displacing the existing residents en masse. The scale of new building will not be as low-rise as the two examples above, and will be of higher density, but I do hope that we will not end up with lots of large new buildings built right up to the pavement line, which do little to provide a sence of place and high quality public realm, turning the Old Kent Road into a high rise canyon – creating an equally poor, although different, look and feel to this major route into London. Indeed the public realm and place making should be the first things to be considered and designed well before any buildings are designed. Will we get this? Somehow I doubt it.

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5 Responses to Old Kent Road Opportunity Area – some thoughts

  1. David Cannon says:

    Important point, graphically made Steve. Your Old Kent Road frontages remind me of the US car culture rather than inner London. Have yopu spotted another attractive terrace just seconds ‘inland’ from the OKR at Surrey Square???

    • stevenboxall says:

      I am not sure if I have seen Surrey Square, but seem to be lots of nice places and homes between OKR and Peckham. We will have to have an in depth explore here soon. Steve

  2. Paul Vécsei says:

    Dear Stevenboxall,
    Would you allow me to use the third image on this site in a student project for a collage? I am a student of architecture in my second year at the AA. If you need more information, just contact me!

    • stevenboxall says:

      Hello Paul,

      As long as it is a non-commercial use (and as a student project I assume that it is non-commercial) that is fine, you can use this image: just credit the copyright as belonging to me. I would be interested in seeing the project when it is finished.



      • Paul Vécsei says:

        Thank you very much! Absolutely, I’ll credit your copyright and I can send it over once it’s done.
        Best wishes,

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