Kings Crescent Estate Masterplan

Karakusevic Carson Architects

Borough: 
The London Borough of Hackney

Units and density: 
765 dwellings: 490 new homes, refurbishment of 275 existing, 200dph

Tenure: 
50% affordable, 50% market sale

Status: 
On site, phased completion from 2017

Awards: Selected Project for our winning submission of Architect of the Year Award 2014

The regeneration of the Kings Crescent Estate in Stoke Newington, Hackney, aims to restore community pride by renovating existing estate buildings, creating new buildings where unpopular high-rise buildings were demolished in the late 1990s and reimagining the landscape. The project forms a pivotal piece of the wider LB Hackney estate regeneration programme, which the practice has been instrumental in developing over the past 10 years.

Karakusevic Carson Architects
Karakusevic Carson Architects
Karakusevic Carson Architects
Karakusevic Carson Architects
Karakusevic Carson Architects

The estate lies on the western edge of Hackney, between Clissold Park and the broad, leafy Victorian streets of Highbury. By far the biggest challenge facing the London Borough of Hackney was how to engage and consult with an estate community that was disillusioned and disengaged after 18 years of failed proposals. In 2000, approximately a half of the estate was demolished, leaving the community living around a hoarded-off wasteland of rubble at the heart of the estate. Later attempts to redevelop in 2007 and 2011 failed. 

We were appointed in September 2013 following a competition to masterplan and design the new housing and set about creating a viable but ambitious scheme that put engagement with the Residents Association and wider estate population at the heart of the design process. Through regular steering group meetings and public consultation events, the residents were involved from the site-wide strategy and planning of new streets right through to the internal specification of the new homes. 

We developed a masterplan of 750 homes, which involves the refurbishment of 200+ existing homes, the creation of 500 new homes and a new landscape and public realm strategy that reconnects the estate to its surroundings. From the outset, our approach was to seek to reintegrate the estate with its surrounding townscape of Victorian streets and public spaces.

The original design for the estate was completed in 1971. Ground-floor garages and long balconies with multiple entry points contributed to a maze-like atmosphere; it also gave the estate an introverted nature compared to the surrounding streets, which was compounded by the arrangement of the existing buildings. These issues were not reasons for demolition of existing blocks but instead are being addressed through the intensive refurbishment strategy. Garages are being converted to homes, reconnecting the estate to the surrounding streets and addressing the poorly defined public spaces that had previously lacked passive surveillance. With the division of the long corridors, entry sequences are being provided that are more secure and create well-defined areas in which neighbours can socialise. 

Karakusevic Carson Architects
Karakusevic Carson Architects

A series of robust courtyard blocks combine existing and proposed buildings, as well as well-defined and overlooked streets and public spaces connected through the site. It was critical to ensure the new buildings responded to the original retained blocks and configured to create shared gardens for existing and new residents.

A fundamental part of the regeneration are the streets and open spaces, where Karakusevic Carson Architects worked with MUF Architecture/Art. A wide central avenue running east to west will provide a new artery connecting the street grain of Islington with Clissold Park. 

An existing community garden is to be maintained and enhanced, and pockets of informal play throughout the scheme will encourage children and families to reclaim and enjoy the landscape. New public uses have been designed to cater for both the existing and emerging communities and to improve the experience of the public realm.

The masterplan was granted planning approval in 2013 alongside the design for the first two phases of new and refurbished homes, which were completed in 2017.  Karakusevic Carson Architects and Henley Halebrown are now progressing on the detailed design for the next phases.

Karakusevic Carson Architects
Karakusevic Carson Architects
Karakusevic Carson Architects

Design Team

Architects: Karakusevic Carson Architects with Henley Halebrown Rorrison Architects

Landscape and Public Realm: Muf Art + Architecture

Planning: Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design

Engineering: Peter Brett Associates

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