TREND: FANTASTIC INDIVIDUALISM BARRETTS GROVE CLERKENWELL
QUALITY ON A BUDGET BRENTFORD LOCK WEST BRENTFORD
Part of a wider local regeneration plan, Brentford Lock West is the project of Isis Waterside Regeneration and Muse Developments in a former industrial area next to the Grand Union Canal. Not traditional housebuilders, Isis Waterside and Muse turn their hands to many types of development, seeking adventurous architectural solutions.
The scheme is a sensitive example of “New London Vernacular”. Others try less successfully to match the quality that architect Mikhail Riches has managed to achieve with Cathy Hawley, in brick and on a fairly low budget, through careful use of proportion, asymmetric rhythm of openings and imaginative detailing. There is a lot of this approach about in regeneration.
BRIGHT ‘BIRDCAGE’ IS A WORKSPACE 6 WOOD LANE HIGHGATE
The fantastic individualism of this private house by Birds Portchmouth Russum Architects ( birdsportchmouth russum.com) at 6 Wood Lane in Highgate, with its bright blue moulded desk and yellow floor for a birdcage of a workspace in the top half, makes for a rich gem of a property. It took seven years and about £600,000 to complete as a self-build project. Tightly planned functional spaces are contrasted with generous living areas — a small entrance, tiny bathrooms and boat-like staircases unfold into the vertical living spaces with views between parts of the house and over the garden.
Above and right: the Sun Rain Room is an extension built for work and play
SUN RAIN ROOM ISLINGTON Quirky to a tee is Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu’s ( tonkinliu. co.uk) Sun Rain
Room, a two-storey rear extension to their own Georgian family townhouse in Islington. The lower storey provides studio space for their practice, Tonkin Liu, while sitting splendidly above is a pleasuredome of a poolside entertainment space with a swooping green roof. Captured rainwater fills the black granite pool which contrasts with the white of the poolside.
FROM ZAHA TO TAHA STOKE NEWINGTON
Amin Taha Architects’ (amintaha.co. uk) £1.3 million block, right, is made of the “fairy tale materials” of brick, wood and straw — but it would take a very big bad wolf to blow this house down.
Like his former boss, the late Dame Zaha Hadid, Taha makes distinctive, maverick architecture. Inside the staggered brickwork skin is a series of small, timber-lined flats for developer Cobstar. Each has a “wicker basket” balcony. If you want character, this is it. Barretts Grove proves that brick need never be boring.
LOFT LIVING TODAY THE COOPERAGE
This former brewery cooperage exemplifies urban living on the grand scale. It’s one of many industrial buildings converted to residential use in the “loft living” craze of the Eighties and Nineties, now revisited for refurbishment.
Chris Dyson Architects (chrisdyson. co.uk) has removed the “unsympathetic” earlier scheme to reveal the full potential of the Clerkenwell Cooper
age’s internal spaces and the robust industrial materials of the building.
Its interior has been cut to create the triple-height living space, linked by a sculptural black metal staircase. Concrete, black steel, exposed brick, warm lighting, vegetation and abundant natural light update the still-desirable notion of living in former industrial spaces.
Bold colours, creative design: above, the workspace up among the treetops
Near waterside walkways: Brentford Lock West on the Grand Union Canal
Urban ideal: right, the Cooperage is a stunning industrial-style living space