We are pleased to announce that The Academy in Woolwich has just been awarded Silver in the Best Development category at the WhatHouse? Awards 2016. This is not an award for luxury, but an award for a mass market development lifted above the ordinary by the quality of its component parts, be it geared to first-time buyers, the middle market, or a mix of properties across the price range. Judges look for a stylish mix of original designs, top quality site layout and landscaping, a variety of external elevations and plenty of design flair inside and out.

The Royal Military Academy site was purchased from the Ministry of Defence by the developer Durkan in 2006. It occupies an 8.5hectare triangular site adjacent to Woolwich Common which is located to the west, most of which is listed Grade II. The site structure includes a campus of historic buildings to the south, arranged in a formal grid layout and based on a simple gothic style. To the north is a large triangular area of open space, which is designated as Metropolitan Open Land.

The scheme involved the conversion and extension of existing buildings, along with new build insertions all for residential use. The site created 328 new residential units to form an ‘Urban Village’, centred around a new ‘village square’. LUC was appointed in 2006 to provide landscape design services, and have been retained throughout the duration of the project which has undergone five phases of work including a 2 year hiatus during the economic downturn.

The core of the Urban Village centres around the creation of a new public square with natural paving and street tree planting, centred around the retained Chapel. The historic Parade Ground to the north of the building line was enhanced, along with soft landscape improvements to the Village Green further north, which has now re-established a local cricket team. Spaces to the rear of the east and west flank buildings, as well as the central courtyard have been subdivided to create private garden spaces, all easily accessed via communal walkways from the rear.