Housing Design Awards

Housing Design Awards

2009 WINNING SCHEMES > Completed Winners

Angel Waterside
London N1


Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects

City Wharf Development

City Wharf Construction

Planning Authority
London Borough of Islington


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Angel Waterside
Angel Waterside
Angel Waterside
Angel Waterside
Angel Waterside
Angel Waterside


The debate over whether apartment blocks are well served by double-banked corridors is intensifying. There is a suspicion that very long double-banked corridors are the Radburn of our day, a layout risking premature demolition. But the maths of net-to-gross ratios of saleable space to worthless circulation means finance won’t back alternatives, especially when it means more lifts.

Angel Waterside is a single block of 85 apartments which has four cores when it might have had two. The consultant architect is also the joint-venture (JV) developer, the directors regularly sharing the financial risk in schemes they design. The layout is the product of a study conducted across a decade of their own developments analysing layout and sales data. Their conclusion: cores not only give you more space, but the higher value dual-aspect apartments needed to pay for the extra lifts.

Multiple cores also facilitate the combination of social rent and highly priced market sale in a single block. The affordable core looks just like its market sale neighbours, but there is enough separation to manage both market sale prejudices and offer a discrete access for those who may not want to share their lives with the highly paid twenty-somethings walking to work in The City. A concierge in the southernmost core manages the others with the help of CCTV.

The shallow block typically has a pair of smaller single-aspect units to each side of the core, wrapped by dual-aspect apartments. The smallest 40 m2 studios have a hanging-bay balcony screened with metal louvres that can be independently twisted to control shading and manage privacy. The bays open due south for a view of City landmarks and plenty of light and air. Balconies on the other side get bigger as they climb the block, the cantilevers like diving boards at upper levels.

These balconies are also an element in the block’s urban design strategy which should prove one day to be its main feature. The block is set back from the City Road basin along the back of the edge of Graham Street, to create a garden space between it and the water’s edge. The architects, whose offices are in a converted wharf on the basin, are hoping for a chain of public realm elements to link along the edge of the water back to their earlier developments next to their offices. If others play ball, this will become a highly valued amenity space in a quarter with very little.

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