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Case Studies

Darwin Court

External shot Darwin CourtDarwin Court is an innovative, contemporary housing scheme and community centre that promotes independent living for the over-50s in Southwark and the surrounding areas. Darwin Court provides a mixture of general needs and supported housing, centred around a community ‘hub’ which includes a swimming pool, café and I.T. suite for use by residents and the local community.

Built for the Peabody Trust by Walter Llewellyn & Sons in 2003, Darwin Court was London’s first development devoted to the housing, employment, training, health and leisure needs of over-50s. Five years down the line, Darwin Court is still being recognised for being ahead of its time for combining innovative housing solutions with inclusive community services. In February 2008, Darwin Court was used as a best practice example in the Government’s Lifetime Homes, Lifetime Neighbourhoods strategy paper.


Design and Construction

The aim of the Darwin Court scheme was twofold. It was developed to enhance the quality of life of the residents who live there and change society's thinking behind accommodation provision for older people.

Darwin Court was designed by architects Jestico and Whiles for the Peabody Trust, specifically to respond to the changing needs of local community groups and older people. It was essential that all flats could be easily converted if/when the future needs of the tenant changed. It was also crucial that the flats be designed with both non-disabled and disabled tenants in mind. For this reason, Darwin Court was designed to the Lifetime Homes Standard, which provides the design features necessary to meet the brief.

Proper planning ensured that there was minimal difference between the actual cost of building Darwin Court to Lifetime Homes Standard and the cost that would have been incurred building to more ‘conventional’ standards.


Recognition and Awards

Communcal area showing lift, low windows, useable height controls and wide corridorDarwin Court has been successful in promoting and providing independence and a high quality of independence amongst its residents. It received an Honourable Mention in the Civic Trust Awards in 2004 and a European Wel_hops (Welfare Housing Policies for Older People) Housing Design Award in January 2007.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Housing Minister Caroline Flint calling Darwin Court a ‘’pioneering’’ scheme for the over 50s at the launch of the government’s housing strategy for an ageing population at 10 Downing Street.


CGI of Darwin Court 



Peabody Trust website (new window) 

Jestico and Whiles website (new window)