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4BUIL008W Building Design Individual Illustrative Essay

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Introduction - 4BUIL008W Building Design Individual Illustrative Essay

In order to underline some of the critical aspects related to architectural building design for the chosen building, extensive research has been carried out. In this essay, at first, a brief overview of the materials used to construct the chosen building will be provided. It will be followed by an explanation of the architectural style of the building while establishing the relationship of the chosen architectural building to the time period in which it was constructed. This essay will also aim to provide a detailed description of the original purpose behind the construction of the said building while also underlining the changes the given building has gone through at present from the time of initial construction of building with respect to its appearance and use. In the end, three hand-drawn sketches will be given regarding roof balling, initial site plan along with front elevation of the chosen building. Labeling and references regarding specific information are also going to be identified. The building which has been considered for this research essay is Clerkenwell Estate, Clerkenwell Close, and London, made by the Peabody trust.

Materials used to construct the building.

The most important building material that has been used for the construction of this old architectural structure is bricks, which can be clearly seen to the outside world at face value. The solid brick stocks used for the construction of the said building are yellow in color that is usually found in London. Each layer of yellow stock bricks is separated by white and grey brick bands of hard cornices, lintels, and Suffolk made out of tough quality building materials of terracotta. The brickwork is striated in nature which was quite common in those early days in many constructed blocks. The bricks used are of the load-bearing type, having been erected with solid masonry. Cement mixture has been used as binding materials for this construction. Both fine aggregates and coarse aggregates are used in the time of making the cement mixture. River sands along with natural sands have been used as fine aggregates in this building construction. The flooring of this building has been done with white tile for enhancing its inner look. Moreover, the parking area is built with bitumen coating on concrete flooring (Syphard, Brennan and Keeley, 2017).

Slate has been used for the construction of roofs with chimney stacks of bricks. The windows, as well as the staircases available on the constructed structure, have been framed using timber, whereas, for carriage entrances, the use of moulded cornices has been carried out. The construction of gates and railings of Clerkenwell Estate, Clerkenwell Close, London, made by the Peabody Trust, on the other hand, has been carried out using cast iron.

Apart from the above-listed building materials of yellow and grey bricks, some usage of limestone can also be seen on the exterior walls of some of the blocks of Clerkenwell Estate, such as Whitechapel, Bedfordbury, Abbey Orchard Street and Clerkenwell Close, London, made by the Peabody trust (Davidovici, 2019). Another thing that is noteworthy in this construction is the absence of any glazing materials on the sash windows.

Figure 1: SITE PLAN

(Source: Created by Learner)

The architectural style of the building

The architectural style used in the construction of Clerkenwell Estate, Clerkenwell Close, London, made by the Peabody Trust, is distinct and unique, which makes it recognisable among other buildings constructed in the same era. Even though it was made for charity for the inhabitants living in the area back then, the architectural style shows a completely different picture of the structure having a non-charitable institutional look and feel to it. The architectural style of the building has a dominant urban character added to it, which sets it apart. Even though it seems a bit ugly and unattractive at first instance, the structure has withstood the test of time and still offers to house poor people having limited means of income. The Peabody housing also shows the philanthropic works carried out in London (Manzi and Morrison, 2018).

The architectural style used by Derbyshire for the construction of Clerkenwell Estate, Clerkenwell Close, London made by the Peabody trust can be termed to be vaguely representing the gothic style in some of the blocks. After the initial construction of unattractive buildings, which seemed specifically, made for working-class people, they soon adopted a softer architectural style after the ongoing movements of arts and crafts back then. The buildings, though having ugly architectural style, are very strong and stand still when other buildings of that time have collapsed, which proves it to be amenable to the modern style of architecture. The architectural style used in the construction of Peabody square seems to be inspired by Italian architecture as the estates have been designed with Italianate style having an institutionalized appearance.

Figure 2: Front Elevation

(Source: Created by Learner)

The original purpose of the constructed building

A total of six estates were made by the Peabody Trust, one among which is the Clerkenwell Estate, Clerkenwell Close, and London. All of these estates were made by Derbyshire, who was the chief architect hired by the Peabody trust. The building is representative of how the prospects of social housing have continuously risen and fallen to counter the history full of tragedies (Gutiérrez-Mozo et al.2021). The purpose of the construction of all these buildings was to provide a means of cheaper housing facilities to poor people belonging to the working class during the age of the industrial revolution. The construction of all the buildings in the estate was carried out in the late nineteenth century. The donation fund of Peabody, out of which the Peabody trust emerged, was established by George Peabody, who had a vision of alleviating the poverty of London. The original purpose of the building, as already stated, was to provide houses at rents that were affordable for poor people with better standards of living, for which many slum sites were cleared. The building has various purposes, such as being a prison house. These prisons had harsh living conditions in 19th century London (Urquhart, 2020).

Figure 3: Existing Roof Plan

(Source: Created by Learner)

Changes occurred in its use and appearance

Block G, as well as block H of the Clerkenwell Estate, Clerkenwell Close made by the Peabody Trust, was damaged very badly due to a bomb attack that was carried out on the blocks, which led to the death of as many as 12 inhabitants living there. The blocks of E and F have now been changed and occupy the children's playground for new construction purposes. Though the original purpose for which the buildings were constructed have ceased and has taken the form of a Peabody Essex Museum, which shows collections innovation in funerary culture, it is still being used as a housing facility for some people now in some blocks (Hoile, 2020). When it comes to appearance, the buildings have developed some cracks over time. The square has been inhabited by many revolutionaries as well in the near past.


The Clerkenwell Estate, Clerkenwell Close, London, made by the Peabody Trust, offers something new and unique for the study of architectural design. There are significant specialties inside the structure that made it sustain when others have collapsed over time. In order to understand these significant specialties, the materials used architectural style, the original purpose, and implement changes in the building have been extensively studied.


Gutiérrez-Mozo, M.E., Parra-Martínez, J. and Gilsanz-Díaz, A., 2021. Extending the Architecture of Collective Housing: Towards Common Worlds of Care. Buildings, 11(4), p.166.

Hoile, S.A.E., 2020. Death, time and commerce: innovation and conservatism in styles of funerary material culture in 18th-19th century London (Doctoral dissertation, UCL (University College London)).

Manzi, T. and Morrison, N., 2018. Risk, commercialism and social purpose: Repositioning the English housing association sector. Urban Studies, 55(9), pp.1924-1942.

Syphard, A.D., Brennan, T.J. and Keeley, J.E., 2017. The importance of building construction materials relative to other factors affecting structure survival during wildfire. International journal of disaster risk reduction, 21, pp.140-147. 

Urquhart, D., 2020. Following the Gaze:(Re) locating the Prison as a Site of Dark Tourism (Doctoral dissertation, University of Leicester).

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