Futurehome, South Gardens

Lauded for its sustainability credentials as much as for its successful creation of community spaces for people to thrive in, Futurehome may well become a template for a new generation of London townhouses.

About this project

Set within the South Gardens development at Elephant Park, the fifteen Futurehome town houses aspire to a raft of sustainable innovations including Passivhaus standards, grey water recycling and additional renewables. The resulting ultra-low energy buildings require little energy for space heating or cooling, thus reducing their ecological footprint. Passive design is not an attachment or supplement to architectural design but a design process that has been integrated with the architectural design.

The design of the terrace was partly informed by the architecture of the traditional Victorian era housing found within the adjoining Larcom Street Conservation Area. The new townhouses have projecting bay windows and recessed entrances which sit comfortably within the existing context. It was important to choose building materials that would age gracefully to ensure that the building would look good over time. This led to the selection of brick and reconstituted stone as the main façade materials.

Part of the Elephant Park Masterplan

South Gardens is the first phase of Lendlease’s Elephant Park Masterplan, which is set to deliver almost 2,500 new homes, 50 new shops and restaurants and a brand new park that will help to restore nature into the heart of the city. The Elephant Park masterplan includes 25% affordable housing and South Gardens contains a substantial proportion of family accommodation including town houses and ground floor maisonettes, each wellproportioned with practical and efficient layouts and generous private amenity space. Every home benefits from its own garden, terrace or balcony. Enhanced streetscapes and public realm combined with flourishing green spaces create a place full of life.

South Gardens delivers the first 360 new homes on the masterplan across three plots. These plots comprise eight buildings, including three storey townhouses, seven to ten storey mansion blocks, a 16 storey tower and high quality public realm and amenity space. Of the360 units, 12 units are affordable and 55 units are shared ownership. There is an architectural andmaterial coherence across the site, an architecture of street façades that are predominantly made from brick, with crisply detailed and carefully proportioned openings.

Creating healthy spaces for people

The Elephant Park masterplan creates accessible, useful and beautiful shared ground level courtyards and upper floor roof terraces where residents can both feel a sense of ownership in their environment and that engender a sense of social cohesion and community for the residents of the development.

Spaces for a variety of activities are provided, from social gatherings between neighbours to secluded niches set within planting for quiet contemplation. These spaces consist of an array of plant layers from large trees down through to a mid-canopy layer of small fruiting trees and shrubs to a flowering herbaceous boarder and areas of floral lawn. There is a roof level Grow Garden where residents can grow their own plants and vegetables. Some of the original trees have been retained on the street front and in the internal garden. They reinforce the relationship with the context and setting of the scheme as well as improve the quality of the communal green spaces.

All of these features are designed to promote healthy living within the community. This includes designing out the use of toxins or Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the building materials to improve indoor air quality. The use of living walls is also designed to improve indoor air quality.

Use of Timber

Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) construction has been incorporated into four of the buildings of the first phase in the development, including all of the townhouses. This is a renewable material with a low environmental impact. Prefabrication of panels has allowed a minimal waste during production and provided precision, essential for delivering high quality energy efficient buildings. CLT provided dry, fast onsite construction, with good inherent potential for excellent airtightness and natural insulation. Additional approaches which were actively incorporated into the scheme to achieve a lean and green efficient development included the widespread use of photovoltaic panels on roofs, incorporation of green wildflower roof construction, integration of a hydrological cycle which catches rainfall, stores it for use by planting and specifically trees, which then transmit it back into the atmosphere as water vapour.

Why is it a Low-Carbon Case Study?

Sustainability has been at the core of the vision for South Gardens. The project forms part of only 18 global projects, in a flagship programme of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group that is taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the world’s megacities. It is the client Lendlease’s goal to be the “leader in sustainable environmental practice”, this ambition is apparent through the sustainability targets set for the project which reinforce, supplement and in some instances, exceed the Planning policy context for the development. The development provides a 38% carbon reduction on Building Regulations Part L 2010, exceeding Southwark Council’s requirement of a 25% reduction.

The majority of this reduction is achieved through lean, clean and green energy efficient measures and the use of clean heating systems. The development is designed to comply with Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 in accordance with Southwark Council and GLA planning policy, the Outline Planning Permission for the site and the client Lendlease’s own sustainability targets.


Housing Design Awards 2018

The Sunday Times British Homes Award 2017 - highly commended

Construction News Awards 2018 - Sustainable Project of the Year

Further information

Images: Lendlease

Architects Journal

Elephant Park development

Lendlease - announcing the timber age

Further timber buildings at Elephant Park: Trafalgar Place

Key contacts

Client / Contractor



Maccreanor Lavington

Structural Engineer

Robert Bird group

Timber supplier / installer


Back to Case Studies

Submit a case study

Share your timber projects with us and we will feature them on this site and via our newsletter.

Submit case study

Get the Wood for Good Newsletter