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Lawn Road

The site is located within the Belsize Park area of London and covers c.0.25ha. The design for this 72 unit (of which 12 affordable / HA) apartment block replaces a former car park building and launderette, later used as a community centre.
Although flanked by a pair of 15 storey tower blocks, diagonally across from the site on the west side of Lawn Road lies the Isokon flats designed by the architect Wells Coates in 1934. This is one of the most significant housing schemes of its day and is Grade I listed.
The design had to deal with this demanding context to create a high quality building that respects both the adjoining conservation area and the Grade 1 Isokon building.

The design is founded on the idea of creating a building form that took a cue from the Isokon building’s ocean liner analogy to creates a coherent, singular building form that exploits the curve of the street. The base of the building is formed in a chalky coloured brickwork which has curved corners and hinges around a central ‘funnel’ (a staircase) and culminates at the northernmost end as a ‘prow,’ expressed as cantilevered, curved balconies akin to that of an ocean liner.

The use of masonry and large window apertures further picks up on the ‘New London Vernacular’ approach of a restrained, brick architecture that recalls Georgian proportions, while horizontally emphasised balconies reinforce the contemporary ‘hull-like’ quality of the building along the street.

The design establishes a simple 5 storey ‘base’ that relates to the context, but with set back ‘attic’ storeys in a visually lighter brick that adds a ‘top’ to the building.

To the street edge, low curved garden walls flowing from the building’s entrances again echo those on the Isokon building.

Conscious of the immense pressure on green space as a physical, visual and ecological resource in London the built form embraces a communal garden to the rear and addresses a fine ash tree to the north.

Client Fairview Estates (Housing) Ltd.
Status Completed (2018)
GIA m2 6,060 m2
Planning consultant Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners
Landscape architect Mark Cooper Associates
Project Architect Carl Gulland
Photography © French+Tye
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