With our colleagues at RBLI, we were proud to show off this fantastic project, and discuss with the judges our design process and the benefits that the scheme has brought to the new residents. From the outset the project was designed in consultation with Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, local residents, the RBLI operations team and, most crucially, the end-users. This has ensured that the Veterans’ Accommodation is truly a living residential scheme, specially designed for the benefactors of the Royal British Legion.
The project was envisaged as a contemporary interpretation of the proven almshouse typology, re-imagined to incorporate modern patterns of living. The architecture reflects local precedents, referencing the grand formality of the Grade-II Listed Preston Hall at the heart of the Royal British Legion Village, and the on-site historic vernacular care-led convalescent bungalows. Accordingly the Veterans’ Accommodation represents a new paradigm of almshouse accommodation driven by the aspirations of RBLI Living. Alex Stringer, who sustained life-changing injuries during a tour of Afghanistan, moved into Victory House in 2017. The triple amputee said the opportunity has provided him with a fresh start and a new-found sense of independence. He says, “I came down to have a look and it was perfect for me. Here everything has been considered.”
The scheme provides 24 apartments in 2 paired blocks, oriented to respect the axis of the Green Drive. Access to private amenity space was considered vital for every apartment, and so the blocks are designed to provide south-facing balconies throughout. The central garden won Gold at the Chelsea Flower Show, and was very kindly donated to the RBLI in 2016.
Befitting the brief as specialist housing for wounded veterans, both buildings have been designed throughout with accessibility in mind. The safety and security of the occupants was also considered a paramount concern, with video entry systems to both blocks monitored centrally by the RBLI Operations team.
Posted on | by Tim Wolfe-Murray