Heritage is the king of placemaking - one that fuels a sense of identity and belonging
A chemistry of a place is made up of the presence and absence of tangible and intangible values:
O engaging, safe, diverse & proportionate street pattern;
O connectivity, permeability, and activity;
O trees, street planting, parks (micro & large), public realm;
O diversity of land uses, services & economic opportunities;
O diversity and quality of buildings;
O diversity of inhabitants, and;
O identity, cohesivity, and opportunities for social encounter.
Many of these attributes are readily found in and around conservation areas and localities with fragments of built cultural heritage. Otterlo recognises these heritage assets as social assets, with manifest and subtle symbolic meanings. Meanings that make a valuable contribution to a sense of belonging to a place. Feeling like we belong somewhere, brings with it a feeling of identity and enhanced well-being.
1824-1832, Trinity Church Square, Borough - an example of speculative building growth designed by Francis Bedford a distinguished South London church architect - Grade II Listed
Otterlo is interested in making buildings with capacity to enhance wellbeing. This is why we like 'restitching' new buildings and new spaces into and alongside London's rich heritage. The stakes are higher, in terms of generating a quality of architecture, greening and public realm that responds positively to the characteristics of sensitive contexts.
The planning system rightly precludes the lowest common denominator from competing in this more complex and more sensitive arena. This makes developers, like Otterlo, who work in this space, spend more time and resource on understanding what it takes to make a beautiful place.
This is why Otterlo puts enormous effort into engaging with the chemistry of the neighbourhoods in which we work. Piecing together an understanding of the community, the morphology and history of a place. And why Otterlo thrives on collaborations with our industry's most talented colleagues, architects and urban specialists.
Harrison's 1642 Plan, showing the city wall and a large fort on the approach to London Bridge
John Rogue's 1746 Plan of Southwark
Bombs Damage Map, 1945
Together this is an effective formula for generating places that are more relatable, more human, and more meaningful places to be. Places more people want to be. This is why Otterlo proactively seeks heritage contexts to work within.