Architect: Chance de Silva

Manwood Road, London SE4

Share of Freehold

This outstanding one-bedroom flat can be found on the second (top) floor of an intriguing development close to Ladywell Fields in south-east London. It was completed in 2011 to a design by renowned architects Chance de Silva.

Named Casadanza by the architects in reference to the nearby Rivoli ballroom, the development comprises three flats and a semi-detached house. This particular apartment is, in our opinion, the most covetable of the three, with a dramatic vaulted ceiling that follows the shape of the origamic roofline. The reception room has a projecting bay, which is almost entirely glazed and offers views along Manwood Road. This in turn leads to a balcony that faces south and west.

The flat has one double bedroom and a central bathroom. It is accessed via an internal communal stairway (there is no lift), and has entryphone access.

Chance de Silva’s work has been shortlisted by the RIBA and the Civic Trust, and has been published internationally. For more information about the architects, and about Casadanza, see the History section.

Casadanza is ideally positioned within walking distance of a number of transport links within Zones 2 and 3. Crofton Park train station is a six-minute walk with frequent mainline trains to London Blackfriars in around 18 minutes, and the City Thameslink to Farringdon and London St Pancras in under 26 minutes. Brockley and Honor Oak Park are both within a mile and offer services to London Bridge in around 12 minutes, as well as regular London Overground trains to Canada Water, Shoreditch High Street and Highbury and Islington. Ladywell station is approximately 10 minutes’ walk and has direct services to Charing Cross, Waterloo East, London Bridge and Cannon Street, all in under 20 minutes.

Manwood Road is surrounded by the green open spaces of Ladywell Fields, Blythe Hill Fields and Hilly Fields Park. The area has a number of excellent bars, pubs and restaurants.

Tenure: Leasehold with Share of Freehold
Lease: 993 years remaining
Service charge: approx. £240 per annum (including insurance)

Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. The Modern House has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.


Having acquired a derelict former schoolkeeper’s house, the architects Chance de Silva retained the shell of the existing building and extended it in all directions to make a small residential complex.

With its pitched blue-zinc roof and white-painted brick, the building references its Crofton Park neighbours, but there is also a nod to Alvar Aalto’s houses in Helsinki and Noormarkku.

The name Casadanza refers to the nearby Rivoli Ballroom – the wonderfully preserved 1950s ballroom that is a still-thriving local institution.

Chance de Silva describe Casadanza as follows: “We have experimented with dance imagery, for example combining the forms and movement of a pair of dancers with ‘stretching’ the existing box, subdividing it into dwellings of different sizes. In particular the blocky rectangular brickwork erupted into a rakishly tilted ‘hat’, crowning the house and flats respectively. Under the ‘hats’ the ceilings follow the eccentric lines of the sloping roof planes, and rooflights drop in here and there to augment low-level views with high-level illumination.”

The building makes the most of having three different aspects by carefully managing the views and the natural light.

Chance de Silva have become particularly well known for designing intelligent and experimental new-build houses. Each incorporates characteristics of the local area and is tailored to the requirements of the client. For example, a house in Highbury called Venus, which occupies a site on a very private and “defensive” street, opens up at higher levels to permit views and let in light.

Cargo Fleet, built in 2005, is clad in Cor-Ten steel and larch. This ‘lifetime live-work’ home can be used flexibly to accommodate the changes in circumstance of occupants over a lifetime. It could be one larger dwelling, containing a home-office, or two smaller houses. Writing about the project in the Architects’ Journal, Andrew Wulf declared that it “successfully addresses the changing face of the domestic”.

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Chance de Silva

Architect Statement
Chance de Silva was set up to explore the possibilities of architecture in interaction with other participants. They might be artists, designers, musicians, community groups or performers. We seek projects which allow exploration and experimentation. We have worked, for example, with artists Matt Hale and Frank Watson on our Venus project, and with Kirsty Brooks at Cargo Fleet. These works became an integral part of the architecture. We also explore new materials, and materials used in new ways. Venus pioneered the use of a post-patination compound on copper cladding. We researched rusting steel in Finland for our project Cargo Fleet. Our work is not just about space, or the qualities of materials, but about what they evoke or express. Chance de Silva’s work has been featured on TV in the UK and France, and radio in the UK, published in the national press and in books in France, Spain, China and the UK.


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