TREND: FAN­TAS­TIC IN­DI­VID­U­AL­ISM BARRETTS GROVE CLERKENWELL

London Evening Standard (West End Final B) - ES Homes and Property - - Architecture -

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

THE PLEASUREDOME

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

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