Heron Court is an existing residential building in Raynes Park, LPA were brought on board to reimagine the building and site’s potential. The residential use of the site is intensified to optimise the land use in this highly accessible and sustainable urban location. The proposal consists of a new roof extension which will provide four new apartments as well as new home to the rear of the existing building.
Through the off-site research LPA found that during the 19th century Merton was home to John Innes, the founder of the John Innes Horticultural Institute. The organisation was the first research centre for the study of plant genetics in Britain, it became world famous for undertaking ground-breaking research in plant genetics. At the heart of the original institute was traditional glass house structures and today modern controlled environment rooms and glass houses are still used at John Innes Research Centre.
The design takes inspiration from the glasshouses of the John Innes Research centre and the repeating pitched roof forms of the surrounding residential typology. The historic reference to the famous horticultural institute and founder John Innes is represented in the roof form of the proposed development but also the notion of growth and change. John Innes’ horticulturists used soil and compost to facilitate the germination of seeds into flowers. The design uses the host building, Heron Court, for germination, growing the proposal form the earth of the existing building. As Heron Court grows, its pollen will be naturally dispersed, acting as an inspirational catalyst for change and facilitating further growth in the local area.