The Keeling House was design as a council house being a part of a large housing scheme. The development also contained a low-rise block. Raised after construction of the eight storey building in Bethnal Green.
Both projects have many similarities in terms of the main idea-between many the separation of accommodation units from the services and lifts based in the free standing tower. The concept introduced by Lasdun was very different to the typical design of tower blocks mainly by allowing more light and air into the building also giving more privacy in the personal spaces .
The Project was completed in 1959 and contained four 16 storey high buildings posed sound the central service area. The use of materials like the reinforce concrete along side the pre-cast cladding imitating Portland stone was and still its a strong representation of the brutalist concept of beauty and functionality.
The new construction created mixed feeling in the neighbourhood. Some people found it intrusive and not fitting in the surrounding of picturesque Victorian terraces. Differently to the Victorian the houses based on the lower floor contained very airy living space as well as kitchen, next to two different in size box rooms . The upper floors layout played around two double bedrooms, next to bathroom and extra box size room.
That way that the services area where common for each floor. The balconies were position opposite each other and serving only two flat at the time. The position of the apartment blocks were organise that way that all flats were provided with natural sunlight at some point of the day that could be enjoyed on the privet balcony design as a part of each flat.
Unfortunately not all the concepts of the building worked out. Common service spaces prefect for drying clothes was not a right space for human interactions. Easy access to the lift and therefore common spaces resulted in acts of vandalism, graffiti pretty common around council housing at that time. Later later more problem emerged like structural issues, cracks in concrete around staircases or filling apart cladding.
After a long time the refurbishment was left in hands of Munkenbeck + Marshall. The design contain the change to the landscape outside of the building, the spalling of existing concrete as well as a modernisation of the internal layout and a completely new entrance design. Large area of glazing was kept in original state, as single glazed windows, neither any thermal isolation was added as the initial project created by Lasdun didn’t present any of those solutions as large mass of concrete walls give high enough thermal capacity.