West Heath Avenue

West Heath Avenue

London NW11

A proposal for three houses on the tree-lined corner of West Heath Avenue. Inspired by the arts and crafts movement, the design responds sensitively to its context, while taking a contemporary approach towards architectural form.







This redevelopment is an opportunity to strengthen the character of the corner of West Heath Avenue at Golders Hill Park, part of a westerly extension to London’s iconic Hampstead Heath.


Currently occupied by a single detached house, the remainder of the plot comprises a large garden edged by mature trees. The new development will provide three detached houses, two of which address the north-south stretch of  West Heath Avenue. A slightly larger, five-bedroom house to the south will benefit from views across the park. Care has been taken to ensure that the emerging proposals are well-designed and of a high quality, befitting the site’s location.


The presence of Arts and Crafts-style houses along and around West Heath Avenue has strongly influenced the proposal. Rather than imitating or replicating the Arts and Crafts style, the design seeks to celebrate the ideas and values that drove this Movement. The exterior and interior aspects of this development have been thoroughly tested, ensuring that the scheme expresses these qualities throughout.




Historical context

Golders Green appeared as a named place in the 13th Century, probably after the local Godyere family. It remained a hamlet of about 16 dwellings right up until the 19th Century, when consecutive waves of development began to transform – and continually reshape – the area.

Golders Hill Park, located opposite the proposal site, opened in 1898, having previously belonged to a 1760s manor house bomb-damaged in WWII and demolished in the 1960s. A handful of great houses still edge the park, including 1895 Inverforth House, designed by architects Grayson and Ould in Queen Anne-revival style.


Development accelerated after the London Underground came to Golders Green in 1907. Homes sprang up, built in the Arts and Crafts, Tudor-revival style that was to dominate English suburban architecture for the next 30 years. Immediately north of the proposal site is the world-famous Hampstead Garden Suburb, founded in 1906, masterplanned by Raymond Unwin with Sir Edwin Lutyens, and characterised by winding leafy streets, rustic homes and apartment blocks built using traditional craft techniques.


Each house along West Heath Avenue is unique in character and the building lines step forward and back to form an organic pattern along the street. The architectural forms variously nod or bow deeply to the Arts and Crafts movement.




Planning context

National and local planning policy recognises the need for additional homes in London and Barnet, and policies encourage the optimum use of existing residential sites, especially on highly accessible sites. The proposal of three family homes on the site is considered in accordance with these principles.


The proposals have been carefully designed to consider and limit adverse impacts on neighbouring properties and to ensure the new homes are in keeping with the appearance, scale and height of the surrounding properties. A key design principle has been to protect and retain mature trees on the eastern, southern and western boundaries.


The planning application will be supported by third party consultant reports, including (but not limited to) arboricultural reports, a sunlight and daylight assessment and ecology report.



Design concept

The Arts and Crafts architectural vernacular has strongly influenced the morphology of the proposed development, which offers a contemporary take on the Movement. Research into the work of Arts and Crafts architectural masters like Philip Webb, Lutyens and Voysey revealed their emphasis on craftsmanship and traditional rural architectural themes and motifs. These notions are refined into contemporary detailing to capture the spirit of Arts and Crafts in the proposal.


Arts and Crafts characteristics seen along the existing streetscape include low and overhanging eaves, catslide roofs, dormer windows and oversized chimneys, contributing to the avenue’s lively roofscape. Many houses feature multiple gables that face both ahead and to the side, forming asymmetric building shapes redolent of traditional rural British architecture. The design proposal seeks to continue the architectural language found along West Heath Avenue. The form of the proposal has also been influenced by the relationship with neighbouring buildings.


The interiors feature double-height spaces, integrated seating and cupboards. Concealed gutters are integrated within the roof to allow for a clean and contemporary form. To create the tactility of arts and crafts the proposed external finish is both a smooth and rough render. This allows the scale of the facade to be broken and adds a level of sophistication to the materiality.


To view the plans for this proposed development please follow this link



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