Citizens House

Citizens House is a development of 11 affordable homes in Lewisham, designed and built via an innovative funding model that makes housing affordable to key workers and people with long-standing connection to the borough. The project is the result of efforts by local people to build Community Land Trust (CLT) homes on surplus, council-owned land. Citizens House is the first purpose-built community land trust project to be completed in London.

The development site was secured in 2016 following Lewisham Council’s decision to gift a council-owned estate infill site for the construction of the new homes. A public workshop asked residents to select their favourite architecture practice from those short-listed, and they chose Archio. The architects began the project by running a 3-day codesign workshop. This allowed them to begin designing in collaboration with local people and sent a strong message that their interests were central to the process. Price & Myers joined Archio in the early stages of design development, with third sector housing developer London CLT delivering the homes.

'Citizens House is a small development, yet it contains all the complexities of reinforced concrete frame construction, complicated brickwork cladding and challenging foundations. We drew on our wealth of experience of these types of projects to be able to deliver a quality design that has resulted in a building quality well above its cost. – Jack van Zwieten, Structural engineer/Associate. 

London CLT provides ‘intermediate’ affordable housing to Londoners priced-out of their communities because they cannot afford open market housing, but are unable to access other forms of affordable housing. Homes were purchased at around a 60% discount to market rates, with the value calculated against the median income in the Borough. The homes are also affordable in perpetuity - when residents move out, they must resell their homes at rates continually linked to local earnings. The idea is to ensure local people don’t get priced out of their neighbourhoods: places they grew up in, work in or have strong connections to.

Community is embedded in the design of the new building. Generous deck access to the rear of the building and staggered balconies encourage connectivity and interaction. The balconies and four ground-floor front doors look over the public space to the front. Residents walk through a spacious communal hall containing bike and pram storage, up a curved winding staircase to reach their homes. The building has been positioned to open-up an existing pedestrian route into a new shared public space. This space was co-designed with residents to facilitate events such as the estate summer barbeque. All 11 homes are rigorously designed, have plenty of space and are triple aspect.

‘Big balconies jut out from its facade in a staggered grid, while a broad staircase loops up the back, where generous curved landings provide spots to stop and take in the view over the treetops to the skyline beyond.’

Oliver Wainwright, The Guardian.

Project Information


London CLT