London, Hampstead

The site is very constrained, with its surrounding context equally testing. The backdrop is the massive bulk of the Royal Free Hospital, strongly contrasting with the surrounding three storey red brick Victorian terraces of North End Green conservation area. This context established one of our main design objectives, to relate the building to the properties around North End Green.

To optimise the development potential, and at the same time responding to the mixed context of the site, we developed a design with a three storey street façade, with an additional five storeys above set out in a staggered formation, to minimise their impact on North End Green. This ‘staggering’ also provided the opportunity for generous balconies. The layout maximises views, which at higher levels, includes Parliament Hill. The lifts are expressed, and are fully glazed to provide residents with a dramatic sense of arrival to their apartments. The top two floors are duplex penthouses. The ground Floor accommodates a Marks & Spencer store, the basement a split level car park.

Cladding materials are a mix of: terracotta rain screen, a contemporary interpretation of the surrounding red orange brick Victorian houses, flat metal rain screen panels, and large areas of glazing. The opaqueness provided by the areas of glazing add a sense of ‘lightness’ to the building participating in setting it apart from the bulk of the Royal Free Hospital.

The proposals were put before CABE, they commented “It is a competent piece of design that successfully addresses the conflicting surroundings.”


size: M&S store 950m², 55 apartments/penthouses, 47 underground car parking spaces

value: £17.0m

status: completed 2006

client: Comcity Ltd

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