Mæ have created twenty-one new high-quality homes for residents living in the path of the HS2 development in Camden. Utilising a number of small sites on a Regent’s Park Estate, the council has re-housed residents within close proximity of their original homes. Phase one is now complete and provides thirteen family homes and a new community centre on Robert Street and eight new homes on Varndell Street, alongside site wide improvements to the public realm.
The first site is located off Robert Street, which is likely to become a major connecting route between the proposed HS2 West entrance and Regents Park. Replacing a former car park, Kirkfell is a new linear block which has been carefully positioned to provide a strong frontage to Robert Street; textured blond brick, ribbons of cantilevered concrete balconies with an elegant colonnade below provides the building with a distinct public-facing appearance.
The building steps back in section from five storeys along Robert Street, to two storeys to the rear to minimise its impact upon surrounding residential units, and to allow for the creation of an elevated deck access to the new maisonette homes. The block defines a new public square, which with new planting and a chequered pattern applied to the ground surface, enhances an existing pedestrian route from Robert Street through to the historic Cumberland Market.
Shared by new and existing residents, a semi-private communal garden with seating, an informal play area and raised flower beds has been created at the rear of the building, providing a safe place for residents to meet, socialise and play. Located on the ground floor with direct access onto the new communal garden, public square and onto Robert Street, a new multipurpose community centre provides a new community focus at the heart of the estate. The second site is located on a prominent corner where Varndell Street meets Stanhope Street.
Split into two volumes, the new block provides visual cohesion to the estate’s eclectic mix of buildings: a six storey tower containing five spacious apartments marks the corner of the site, while three, three-storey townhouses mirror the scale of an adjoining row of houses to the west. A playful arrangement of exaggerated, recessed balconies echo the chequered facades of neighbouring buildings, while providing passive surveillance to the communal garden below.
Improvements to the garden include new seating and a play area, alongside the provision of allotments to encourage residents to take ownership of the space, and an orchard which creates a new focal point to the space. New planting throughout the scheme not only increases the biodiversity of the area, but enhances privacy to both new and existing residents living on ground floor spaces.
Both buildings have been carefully designed to accommodate the preferences and housing need of residents; all homes are generously planned to exceed current building standards, are dual aspect and have private balconies. Ample cycle parking and storage, alongside enhanced pedestrian routes through the estate helps to promote walking and cycling, while the provision of high-quality public and private outdoor amenity helps to support healthier lifestyles.
The project demonstrates how small urban sites can be used thoughtfully and creatively to provide much needed, high-quality homes for Londoners. By providing estate wide improvements and new public amenity, Mae are helping to support socially balanced and resilient communities, while promoting Euston as a desirable place to work and visit. Source by Mae Architects.
- Location: Camden, London, UK
- Architect: Mae Architects
- Project Architect: Alex Ely
- Lead Contractor: Lovell
- Structural Consultants: Campbell Reith
- Landscape Archtiects: East Landscape Architects
- Project Managers: Ikon
- Quantity Surveyors: ECH
- Planning Consultants: TPUD
- Client: London Borough of Camden
- Year: 2019
- Photographs: Stale Eriksen, Tim Crocker, Courtesy of Mae Architects