Claudia Place, Southfields SW19
Three blocks of flats and maisonettes linked together with curved stair towers. Horizontal profiled metal cladding.
Architect: Farrell Grimshaw
Year built: 1973
I’d never heard of this unusual 1970s modernist development in Southfields until I stumbled upon it during a Rightmove browsing session.
Tucked away in a quiet cul de sac up the hill from Southfields station, the development comprises three adjoining blocks of flats, maisonettes and townhouses linked together with unusual greenhouse-like stair towers. The facade of the building looks like it is made up of wooden slats but it is apparently metal cladding.
I viewed a 2-bedroom split-level flat in the development a couple of weeks ago. Upon arrival, first impressions were very positive: the grounds were beautifully landscaped (I particularly liked the ivy covering the entire side of the row of townhouses) and the striking external facade of the building looked immaculately maintained. Unfortunately, the interior communal areas weren’t nearly as impressive (dimly lit with walls painted in an insipid shade of cream and that thin blue carpet often used in offices).
The flat itself had an interesting layout split over three floors: bedroom 1 and the bathroom were on the second floor, bedroom 2 and the open plan kitchen/living area were on the third and a large roof terrace occupied the fourth. There was quite a lot of floorspace but the odd proportions of some of the rooms (the kitchen/living area was unusually long and narrow) and the split-level layout with three floors of rooms stacked on top of each other gave the flat an oddly claustrophobic and disorienting feel overall. The hideous pink, red and green colour scheme and furnishings straight out of a 1980s Kylie music video did not help matters.
The outlook was also mixed: the views from the rooms facing out onto the nicely landscaped cul de sac (the two bedrooms) were pleasant whilst the views from the living area and terrace, which backed quite closely onto an enormous, rather depressing housing estate, were not.
I’m sure that with enough money (probably about £20k), the flat could be made to look pretty good. I was also informed that the terrace could be converted into an additional room. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a project that I felt motivated to take on.