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Winner of the 2019 Evening Standard New Homes Awards Grand Prix and the 2017 Planning Award for Best Mixed-use Development, the scheme brings 252 new homes and 8,300m2 of commercial space to a neglected area. The project has successfully delivered a change-of-use consent (from predominantly B1 light industrial), achieving a dramatic increase in density and a five-fold increase in floor area on a 0.9ha Locally Significant Site in Islington.
The masterplan redevelops a low-grade 1970s industrial estate, using high-quality architecture to transform an underused piece of land into a thriving new residential, retail and working community.
With our clients London Square and Family Mosaic we are delivering 150 high-specification private sale apartments and 102 affordable homes – at a rate of 280 units per hectare – as well as 400m2 of affordable workspace reserved for use by local start-ups.
The development dramatically improves the streetscape, breaking up a 350m stretch of blank façade with 130m of new active frontages at ground level. A spacious courtyard provides somewhere for people to sit and enjoy a coffee and browse the new shops.
Designated as a Locally Significant Industrial Site in the London Plan, the land is protected for employment use. We were successful in obtaining consent for a mixed-use scheme where other architects and developers had repeatedly failed.
Developed from a series of detailed feasibility studies, our design proposed to change and intensify the site’s use while retaining 100% of the existing employment area – even adding 570m2 of retail. This ambitious proposal required a sensitive and carefully constructed justification in terms of both cost feasibility and planning viability.
We consulted closely with the Local Planning Authority and the GLA to develop a truly mixed-use scheme that significantly increases the employment floorspace while providing hundreds of new homes – over 40% of which are affordable.
The development won planning permission just four months after we submitted the proposals in September 2015. We achieved this impressively short timeframe through a proactive engagement strategy and extensive pre-application process that successfully minimised objections.
Our ambitious masterplan of high-quality architecture that is sensitive to its context will dramatically improve the quality of the local physical environment. By carefully considering the setting from all angles we are creating sympathetic new backdrops for Market Road Gardens to the west and the two historic buildings bookending the site.
Each building is articulated differently, breaking down the development’s scale and creating a sense that the buildings arrived incrementally. A central, striking, fully-glazed trapezoidal building permits clear views across the park and produces impressionistic reflections of the park’s mature planting. This building uses a recycled glass rainscreen externally – a first in the UK. The perimeter blocks are divided into individual buildings with their own front doors, fitting with the traditional grain of Caledonian Road.
Collaborating with property agents and the client’s sales team helped us optimise the private sale and affordable units. We located all affordable units in a single block, the pre-sale of which funded the entire project’s construction. Meanwhile, the sales-to-date of the market sale units have exceeded targets.
Beyond the initial brief, we are restoring the adjacent Grade II-listed Methodist Chapel, for which we are also providing a new extension that will improve access to the building and offer a new space for residents and businesses to hold events. We are giving both the church and locally important Victorian pub The Cally a sympathetic new setting, and are also improving facilities at the Kids Hayward Adventure Playground in Market Square Gardens.
The development’s green roofs and nesting sites will encourage biodiversity in this inner-city location, while a beautifully planted and landscaped rooftop children’s garden provides the scheme’s youngest residents with a secure play area.
Improvements to the public realm are set to inject new vitality into the area: our design brings activity to street level along 130m of Caledonian Road and Brewery Road, counteracting the blank façade offered by Pentonville Prison diagonally opposite the site.