Partners in Progress:
Pollard Thomas Edwards
04 November 2020
London based architectural practice, Pollard Thomas Edwards (PTE), is creating a new set of house types for the Anderson and L&Q flagship development, The Quarry in Erith South London.
We quizzed associate partner, Justin Laskin, on his company’s vision for the expansive and progressive housing development of 850 homes.
Justin Laskin, Associate Partner BSc MA NCARB
Please summarise your vision for The Quarry and tell us what, in your opinion, makes this development unique.
Our proposal uses the unique geographical and topographical constraints of the site as an opportunity, delivering diverse, generous, and attractive homes which are carefully sculpted into the topography of the site to create an accessible environment for everyone. Homes are organised around a series of new public spaces that accentuate the impressive long views made possible by the steeply sloping site. We have chosen to express the site’s former heritage as a quarry through the ‘stratified’ horizontal brickwork that visually ties the new houses and flats together.
PTE is working on the second phase of homes being built on the site. How have the plans for The Quarry developed since the completion of phase 1?
We want the second phase to feel like a natural extension of the work already completed. It needs to sit comfortably in the new neighbourhood and feel coherent as a place, but we’re also keen for it to have a unique character of its own. We’ve tied it to the original phase through the choice of materials and some key details, but have also added new house-types, massing, and elevational approaches to the family.
Many of Anderson’s employees talk of the ‘Anderson way’ of doing business. As a partner organisation, have you experienced the ‘Anderson way’ and, if so, what does it mean to you and your business?
Absolutely. Thankfully the ‘Anderson way’ and PTE’s ethos are closely aligned. Our approach is founded on placing people first, understanding their needs and designing to suit, emphasising not only the way the buildings and places look, but also how they are made, how they are used and also how they age. Diversity underpins our professional outlook both in how we design and how we work – providing us with the insight to create truly inclusive places and communities. As a result, many of our colleagues stay with us throughout their careers and a significant number return after gaining experience elsewhere. When a client like Anderson believes in the same things we do, it makes for happy teams and ultimately happy completed projects.
You studied to become an architect in the US. Has your Stateside education influenced your approach to working on The Quarry?
Not particularly. Good homes are good homes, regardless of where you’re educated. My university had a strong focus on the overlap between early design concept and buildability, so perhaps that has influenced the approach a bit. We have a unique approach for The Quarry, but one that has been designed with efficiency, simplicity and buildability in mind from the outset.
If there’s one building or development you would have loved to work on, what would it be and why?
I’ve always loved the Maison Louis Carré outside of Paris, by Alvar Aalto. It’s a fantastic example of a complete house design – from the building, to the furnishings and lighting, and of course into the landscape as well. It’s on a steeply sloped site and the way it tucks into the hill and expresses the steps of the landscape as a feature are really fantastic… and actually pretty relevant to our approach to The Quarry.