Choose this Vauxhall walk and get to know The Foundry, DSDHA, Vox Studios and the Imperial Court.
At first, you may not think of Vauxhall as a place for an interesting walk. Even its name sounds a bit industrial. In fact the area looks like that, because of the gasworks and former Marmite factor. But within a short distance it hides buildings that will inspire you. It’s a perfect place for short architecture walk.
Vauxhall walk: DSDHA – architects with a sense for local architecture
DSDHA studio is an architects practice hiding away from the main street. If you don’t know it’s there it’s easy to miss. Some of the projects that DSDHA studio does, are really interesting. I was especially pleased to read that they do things in the local area. They’ve redeveloped nearby Wilcox Road public realm. If you want to extend your walk a little bit you can go there to see the results of their work.
Out of these four buildings this one is the nearest to Vauxhall station, located in a triangle formed by Kennington Lane, Harleyford Road and Durham Street.
Its good to know that it used to be perfume factory.
Vauxhall walk: Workspace – start ups in a former Marmite factory
Right opposite DSDHA studio is one of the Workspace buildings, company that turns old warehouses and unused buildings into modern office spaces and rents them out to start ups. The one near Vauxhall is (interestingly called) Vox Studios and used to be Marmite factory. It has 65 offices and from its top you can admire city skyline views.
Vauxhall walk: The Foundry – office building with a meaning
The Foundry, near the Gasworks Gallery, is a great example of modern office architecture. The building is packed with social justice organisation doing good things around the world: Advising London, The Oval Learning Cluster, Engineers without Borders and Traidcraft. I knew about Traidcraft before and if you’re ever looking for a thoughtful gift their catalogue is a place to go. But I was pleased to find about the other organisations, especially Engineers without Borders. They use their engineering skills in different projects to make world a better place for everyone.
It’s a pleasure to look at the building. There’re inspiring quotes on the outside and if you have a peek inside you’ll see it’s a place many would like to work in. It’s located slightly away from Kennington Lane, in secluded area.
Vauxhall walk: The Imperial Court – flats with a character
I left the building that’s, in my opinion, the most surprising, for the end. I passed Imperial Court and thought it was still used for official purposes. Until, I saw an intercom and people going in through the gate with bags of groceries on a Saturday afternoon. After a quick research I found out that it had been turned into flats.
I thought that must be an awesome place to live but apparently the flats don’t have as much character as you would expect from a historical building. The Imperial Court itself was built in 1836 for the Licensed Victuallers School. The current building replaced Kennington House (and adjacent houses) which had been in use as a school since 1803. From 1921 to 1992, Imperial Court was the headquarters of the Navy, Army and Air Forces Institute (NAAFI). As I read on SE11 blog:
“The flats appeared to undergo some kind of developer duplication process, so the interiors are identical, and not tasteful. Many of the carpets are cream, and the ones that I’ve seen now need replacement! For the most part, their kitchens are small. Some of them have a nasty view over the back of the wasteland near Tesco, overlooking the gasometers. The flats at the front suffer from the noise of Kennington Lane. The apartments do have a gymn and sauna in the basement, but such facilities probably mean that the flats have high service charges. The concierge must cost a considerable amount! That said, some of the flats are reasonably sized, but they’re nothing special.”
To add to that, the prices of the flats are not impressive neither. Price for renting 3 bedroom flat in the court was recently almost £3,000pcm and if you would like to live there in 1 bedroom flat you would need to pay about £395pw.
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