Covington Court

Covington Court is a 9-unit, tenure-blind housing scheme on a steeply sloping site in Croydon, for the affordable housing developer Brick by Brick. The proposed building partially occupies one of the Borough’s ‘small sites’, and takes in views of Norbury Recreation Ground. The building references local arts and crafts building styles, including thoughtful brick details with rotated soldier courses, inset panels and alternating recessed and flush mortar banding that gives expression and articulation to the façade. Our proposal integrates with its landscape, negotiating the site levels to provide step-free access on both sides, while carving out communal and growing space for residents.

Client: Brick by Brick
Planning Granted: 2020
Cost: TBC
Location: Norbury, South-West London

Covington Court in Context

Our site is in the heart of a leafy landscape of semi-detached houses with generous front gardens, making our building an unusual ‘corner’ proposal in this context. We adapted our massing to face the green space and reflect the heights of neighbouring houses. We preserved the large trees on site, with as much of the communal green ‘nose’ as possible.

We orientated the ‘hinge’ of the building to face the green space, providing public seating and planting as a meaningful improvement on the flank walls of two existing buildings. All the apartments in the block are dual aspect, most are triple aspect, giving the site good passive surveillance and a neighbourly outlook, while maintaining the privacy of the existing houses.

SWA undertook a variety of consultations on this project, including visualisations to communicate the potential uses of the retained green space. We were keen to understand the green’s specific value to local people, so made sketches and animations to explore what different groups wanted to use the space for.

We discovered the smaller space had value as a picnic site, food or craft fayre and had potential to host film screenings or stage shows. The new development therefore stepped back from the trees and made room for these future uses, including imagining the option to occupy some of the road too, if desired.

Artistic illustration of how the building sits on the corner
Exploded Axon of the proposed scheme


Our proposal engages with the 4m site level change to create a dual-fronted building with level access from Covington Way and Crescent Way. Our mix of 1- and 2-bed apartments are stacked around the single stair, each with their own balcony and some with an exposed interior roof pitch, giving a generous, loft feel. Covington Court provides a wheelchair accessible apartments with generous amenity space and designated parking space; there are also three other wheelchair adaptable apartments, suitable to meet the needs of future residents.

Material language

To bring our new building typology into dialogue with our neighbours, we took inspiration from the arts and crafts buildings around us and blended them into our material palate. As the client’s name suggests, this is a two-tone brick building, riffing off the white and red brick patterns next door. We interpreted the period details of these buildings in a contemporary and subtle way, articulating corners with zipper brick details and creating dynamic elevations with inset panels and rotated brick bands.

Elevation studies and proposed materiality


We have worked hard with MEP and structural consultants to rationalise and refine the building, creating integrated balconies that resolve the building’s drainage and give views out to the surrounding green spaces. Our roof space visually conceals and noice- buffers the heat recovery equipment, plus we made space for future PVs, if desired.


For SWA, Covington Court is an opportunity to explore diverse and changing lifestyles within the suburban context, using architectural detail and materials to connect new types of tenancy and more equitable use of land with established stakeholders and communities.