Units and density: 374 homes: 273 new and 101 refurbished, 200dph - first two phases of 765 home masterplan
Tenure: 51% affordable, 49% market sale
Status: Completed 2017
Awards: Selected Project for our winning submission of Architect of the Year Award 2014
The first two phases of the Kings Crescent Estate masterplan involve the creation of 269 new homes and the refurbishment of 101 existing homes as well as significant public realm improvements.
Working with Henley Halebrown Rorrison Architects, we have created three new buildings that vary in scale from five to 12 storeys in height. The design creates a fine balance between variety and consistency, alternating between the two architects to avoid the visual monotony of many estates designed by one hand whilst working within a robust masterplan framework.
Common aspects to all three buildings include front door-accessed ground floor units, generous communal entrances and the incorporation of large amenity space for family units. The architecture for these buildings aims to bridge the gap between strong, confident buildings fit for higher density living, and fine grain detailing, with attention paid to proportion, scale and elegance of the facades to bring a human scale to the design.
Elevations, massing and detailing are intended to subtly respond to the variety of contexts including the surrounding late Victorian townscape of 19th-century terraced and semi-detached housing as well as the existing post-war estate buildings whilst maximizing views of Clissold Park to the west.
Carefully detailed elevations are crafted from high-quality brickwork, precast concrete sills and string courses as well as hardwood-framed timber shopfronts, which sit elegantly within the surrounding context. Deep window reveals and a layered use of materials brings depth to the elevation, creating a contrast between light and shadow. Softer materials such as timber are used in areas where residents come into contact with the buildings such as entrances and balconies. Communal entrance lobbies are clearly marked in the streetscape and filled with natural light, with carefully considered pattern tiled floors and walls that celebrate the social and circulation spaces, regardless of tenure.
Internally, layouts have been designed from the inside out to ensure they are flexible and adaptable. Homes benefit from high ceilings with large, high-performance, anodised windows and doors providing access to generous recessed balconies and terraces which are envisioned as an extension of the living space. Rooftop units are generally provided as family homes to allow for provision of generous amenity space in the form of roof terraces.
The refurbishment strategy was designed to respect the origins and value of the existing buildings whilst defining a contemporary direction for their use, enabling them to be seen in a new, positive light. Garages have been converted into ground floor homes with gardens and new balconies and winter gardens which have been added to all existing homes on the upper levels, all of which help to increase street facing activity. Improvements to existing deck accessed circulation create generous communal areas, enhancing opportunities for interaction between neighbours. A combination of new roofs and the winter gardens improve the thermal performance of the existing homes. Where old and new fabric connect, the interface is clear but not overly defined, creating a cohesive and intriguing transition.
Both the refurbishment of existing buildings and development of new buildings have been carried out using a combination of elegant materials with robust, considered detailing, which make the buildings sit comfortably in their varied context and allow them to age gracefully over time.
The approach to these two phases has been to create a simple and robust urban massing which integrates the new and existing buildings with the established townscape context and create a clearly defined hierarchy of public and private space. It was critical to ensure the new buildings responded to and framed the original retained blocks whilst creating new spaces such as shared gardens for existing and new residents.
Architects: Karakusevic Carson Architects with Henley Halebrown Rorrison Architects
Landscape and Public Realm: Muf Art + Architecture