Davy Smith Architects transformed an oddly shaped triangular lot into a modern affordable housing complex lined with Europe’s tallest living wall! The terracotta-clad Digby Road building is home to 97 affordable apartments in the Hackney section of London. The living wall is gradated with different hues of evergreen species that thrive in warm and cold weather alike.
Completed in November of last year, Digby Road offers a mix of affordable one, two, three, and four bedroom apartments. The ground floor also features commercial space for shops and cafes for the residents to enjoy. Three tones of terra cotta intertwine on the building’s façade, gradating from light to dark in decorative pattern. The building rises from 5 stories on one side to 14 on the other. The sixth floor features a roof terrace that slopes up into the living wall, allowing residents enjoy the lush elevated outdoor space. Five shades of climbing plants grow up the rear façade of the structure, wrapping over the roof. The plants stay green all year-long, complimenting the terracotta shades while providing insulation from solar gain, natural rain water filtration, and fresh air for the residents’ nearby windows.
Digby Road was built to achieve level 3 in the Code for Sustainable Homes while blending energy efficiency with affordability. A biomass boiler provides 20% of the complex’s power while also heating the community. The project is located two stops from the 2012 Olympic site, so residents have excellent public transport access in a highly sought-after area.
Aside from hosting Europe’s largest living wall, Digby Road is adjacent to a railway line, a public park, and a school – all which will have elements of the building’s living wall echoed in small structures throughout them.