Camden Council appointed Rick Mather Architects to develop a mixed-use design for 53 residential units at the junction of Chester Road and Balmore Street in Highgate, Camden
The replacement housing scheme is part of the Council's ‘Investing in Camden's Homes' programme and will provide high quality sustainable homes for residents. The scheme will mean that more council housing, that is suitable for families, is available on the site.The new housing is part of the Council's wider vision for the area and will be developed alongside improved community facilities.
Our approach to the development of the site has been to study existing housing types within Camden and develop on some of their key attributes. These are characterised by generous proportions to habitable spaces, dual aspect, rooflit spaces and large roof terraces. An important element of their design is that all units can access their front doors from street level.
London Borough of Camden
The aspiration for the Chester Balmore project has been to develop a new housing typology specific to the sloping site in Highgate. This has resulted in a block form consisting of stacked maisonettes with all dwellings having access to their front doors from the street. This strategy has meant that we could limit the number of circulation cores required and exploit the sites topography to maximise the efficiency of the site. Given the site restrictions and density this strategy has also meant that all units are dual aspect and all family units have generous private gardens or terraces.
Chester Balmore is currently on target to be one of the first UK, large scale developments to achieve the Passivhaus standard. Whilst Passivhaus is becoming an increasingly popular aspiration for residential developments in the UK what makes Chester Balmore unique is how the standard is achieved given the form brought about by the highly specific response to the site, a very real achievement and demonstrates that Passivhaus is not restricted to factory architecture.
The residential accommodation is arranged in two blocks with the landscaped space in between incorporating residents' private gardens and communal spaces. The blocks take advantage of the slope of the site and allow the mass of the development to be reduced. A smaller scaled block which faces Chester Road relates to the scale of the adjacent Victorian terrace and housing opposite. Set back from the street the front gardens continue the rhythm and proportion of Chester Road. The main block wraps around the north and west edge of the site and is sunk into the landscape. At its southern tip at the junction of Chester Road and Raydon Street it forms a ‘Gateway' - facing the library and cemetery and terminating the vista along Croftdown Road. Retail uses provide activity to animate the corner forming an extended public space around shops and opposite the library. A new landscaped "shared surface" to the roads and pavements also connects the Balmore Street block to the park.
Additional amenity space is provided in the secure landscaped space between the two blocks and within the public route to the east. The dwellings will be built to Lifetime Homes and to London Wide Initiative space standards, where 10% of all units will be wheelchair adaptable to conform to the Mayor's London Plan requirements.
Lead & Design Architect Rick Mather Architects
Project Manager McBains Cooper Consulting Ltd
Passivhaus Consultant WARM
Structural consultant Haskins Robinsons Waters Engineers
MEPH consultant Mott Macdonald
Landscape Architect Charnwood Landscape Design Ltd
Main Contractor Willmott Dixon Housing
Contractor's Architect Architype
Acoustic Consultant Sandy Brown Associates
Sustainability Consultant Fulcrum
Fire Consultant Fisec
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10 March 10
Green Chester Balmore estate gets off ground
Camden New Journal
08 March 2012
Camden's new energy-efficient homes that won't break the bank
Homes & Property, Evening Standard
13 November 2013
Chester Balmore provides affordable Passivhaus homes in the Capital
18 November 2013