PLACE Ladywell

Lewisham, London

This early example of large-scale timber modular construction proved the ideal solution to deliver temporary housing as meantime use on a site in south east London. Expedition worked with specialist manufacturer SIG to develop a structural solution for modules that could be manufactured in factory conditions and connected together on site without compromising the integrity of construction.

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Owner Lewisham Council has long-term plans to redevelop this site, which is in a prominent location close to Lewisham town centre, but wanted to use it for temporary housing provision in the interim. Hence the main aims for the team working on PLACE Ladywell were to identify a system that could be built very quickly, but that could also be taken apart in the future to be rebuilt and reused elsewhere. 

Dubbed ‘the UK’s first pop-up village’, the four storey modular volumetric timber construction design consists of 64 prefabricated and fully-fitted units that were assembled rapidly on site to create 24 homes and 880mof ground floor business space. Precast concrete lift cores and panelised external timber decks were used to provide access to each storey. 

 When the time comes for permanent works to start, the modules can be dismantled, and quickly and easily relocated with minimal waste.  

Expedition was brought in by SIG to develop the structural solution for the system, ensuring that modules could be connected together without compromising their integrity – a fundamental requirement to ensure the system works successfully.  

Timber is suitable for construction by semi-skilled labour, so modules were built and fully fitted out in factory conditions, right down to the interior finishes, bathrooms and kitchens. The comparatively light weight of this type of unit also meant that only shallow foundations were required, suiting the temporary nature of the development.  

It enabled a high quality of construction to be achieved while minimising waste and dramatically reducing site time, providing a low-cost solution to local housing needs. It took just nine months to move from foundation construction to practical completion. 


All units exceed the current space standard requirements by 10%, helping us to meet an existing shortfall in both high quality temporary and two-bed accommodation whilst we develop new-build and estate regeneration programmes across the borough.

Lewisham Council

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