Hornsey Road Redevelopment

Granted planning permission in October 2018, this scheme will provide nine new homes on a challenging site a stone’s throw from Finsbury Park station.

Current site

Working closely with Islington Council’s planning and conservation team we developed a proposal which achieved a delicate balance between maximising the development opportunity of this site with the need to respect and enhance the former Victorian school buildings.

Until recently much of the site had been used by charity Volunteering Matters as a construction skills centre, but a consolidation of the organisation’s functions elsewhere in London led to it becoming redundant. RCKa was engaged to develop proposals for housing which, when sold, would allow the charity to continue its vital work elsewhere.

Although handsome, the existing building suffered from innumerable problems. A single storey limited opportunities for reuse, yet conservation officers had expressed a strong preference for its retention.

Our solution was to prepare a scheme which carefully inserted five new houses into the shell of the school hall with a new building containing four flats placed at the southern end of the site.

An existing scalloped boundary wall will remain, creating a defensible space behind, protected from the busy road. This becomes a “planted street” from where all of the new houses are accessed. Each home has a west-facing garden behind, and a hidden roof terrace accessible from upper floor bedrooms.

A shared garden is provided for all residents in the space between the new and existing buildings, and at the northern end of the site a further, smaller school building has been retained for community use.

The scheme will deliver a viable number of high-quality new homes but is at the same time respectful of the existing buildings which, along with the Grade II-listed Hornsey Road Baths and Montem Primary School opposite, form a nucleus of attractive public buildings within a long, busy stretch of road.

The existing buildings as seen from Hornsey Road

Externally the new elements are clad in coloured terracotta tiles to contrast with the red Victorian brick and to emphasise the distinction between old and new. The new apartment building turns through ninety degrees from the street to form a bookend to the existing terrace.

View from rear gardens of Sussex Way to the west
Elevations, east (top), west (bottom)

Overall this scheme will bring a locally-important landmark building back into sustainable long-term use while providing nine attractive new homes on an underdeveloped, accessible site.

Client: Volunteering Matters

Location: Hornsey Road, North London

Local Planning Authority: London Borough of Islington