No. 76 . 28 November 2001 
ArchitectureWeek
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Erskine's Millennium Village

by Don Barker

Innovation and sustainability are the two key drivers for the new Greenwich Millennium Village in southeast London. It is an ambitious mixed-use development being built according to a master plan by architect Ralph Erskine using the latest sustainable methods and materials.

The 250 million project, being constructed in phases over a five-year period, saw its first occupants in late 2000. For the first phase, Erskine was also design architect, with EPR as production architect.

The residential design is reminiscent of Erskine's Byker Wall housing development in the north of England. It offers dramatic elevations of barrel-vaulted roofs, using traditional materials, adding Erskine's trademark color and texture.

These 450 apartments, set around modern versions of the classic London "garden square" concept, lie on the northernmost part of the planned village site beside the River Thames and a newly created lake. To maximize connections to the environment, they sport balconies, terraces, or sundecks, some fronting the lake, others with dramatic views toward the Thames Barrier.

Along with the extensive use of glass, materials include split bricks contrasted with colored plaster, corrugated panels, wood cladding, and zinc sheet. "The colors help break down the scale of the facade," says architect Brendan Phelan, director at EPR.  

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