Perronet House, London SE1

Princess Street, Elephant and Castle SE1
Purpose-built council block with scissor construction flats with spectacular views of Elephant & Castle roundabout. Commended in 1971 Good Design in Housing Awards
Architect: Sir Roger Walters
Year Built: 1970

Perronet House, the expansive concrete block that looms over Elephant and Castle roundabout, is a familiar sight to anyone who has the pleasure of commuting via SE1. Even though it’s a bit gloomy, boxy and sludge-coloured, I’ve always suspected that the interiors of the flats might be interesting due to the sheer number of large windows which span across the building almost without interruption.

Having been inside, the flats are even more unusual than I expected. The two flats that I visited were split over three levels (living room/kitchen on one level, bathroom and toilet on a central landing and then two/three bedrooms on the third level) connected by a series of staircases with a main entrance and back door at each ‘end’ of the property. The living rooms have those aforementioned large windows which face out onto a surprisingly impressive view of the roundabout.

A recently sold flat with this sort of configuration went for £350,000, which seems like good value for the size and location. On the downside, the communal areas are a bit harrowing (a cross between a multi-storey carpark and a prison) and there’s always the threat of a big ‘regeneration’ project with a slightly dilapidated block like this…

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