259 City Road Basin Building, Regent’s Canal Property, English capital public space design

259 City Road London

Regent’s Canal Development Islington design by Bennetts Associates Architects, London, UK

10 Mar 2010

Bennetts Associates’ City Road Basin Opens To The Public

Green Light For The Practice’s First Housing Scheme

Design: Bennetts Associates Architects

259 City Road London Building
259 City Road London photo © Tim Crocker

259 City Road

Bennetts Associates has transformed a previously derelict and inaccessible industrial site into a vibrant new public space with pedestrian access to the Regent’s Canal in Islington, London. The £5M scheme unlocks new public spaces around the historic City Road Basin site, creating the second largest open space in Islington behind Highbury Fields.

259 City Road London 259 City Road London 259 City Road London 259 City Road London
photos © Tim Crocker

The new public space sits within a Bennetts Associates designed masterplan that is being developed by Groveworld, Miller Developments, British Waterways, Fidelity Investments and London Borough of Islington. This new civic area is key to improving access to future phases within the masterplan which includes two private residential towers and a lower building of affordable housing planned around the basin head at the southern end of the site.

Bennetts Associates’ affordable housing scheme at 259 City Road is now on-site with contractor Ardmore and is the practice’s first residential project. One hundred affordable housing units, including a mix of one, two and three-bedroom flats, will be built over the next two years and managed by Family Mosaic. Completion is scheduled for February 2012.

The design of 259 City Road is marked by the tower rising to 28 floors, with a triangular plan form and a chamfered skyline. This element comprises private residential accommodation, with retail units dispersed around its base. Alongside the tower towards the site’s northern limits are two lower buildings of 12 and 15 floors that are linked to provide affordable residential accommodation. The space between the private and affordable accommodation is landscaped above a podium containing retail accommodation, parking, utilities and plant.

The 2000-sq.metre basin consists of a new plaza with steps and planters leading down to the canal, opening up this stretch of water to the public for the first time. By creating a primary access point, waterside spaces can now be enjoyed by the community and used for leisure activities, providing access to a network of paths that further connect the canal to the surrounding area.

Key to negotiating the industrial and public uses of City Road Basin was the inclusion of three stainless steel chimneys, a distinctive element of the design that animates the space whilst also ventilating the EDF electrical substation below. Around the chimneys are semi-transparent drums that reveal colourful panels within the cylindrical structures. Bennetts Associates design approach ensured that the electrical accommodation remained secure and fully functional throughout construction.

The practice selected a palette of blue glazed bricks, granite and concrete paving to create a calm environment and collaborated with Whitelaw and Turkington on the landscape elements of the scheme.

Rab Bennetts, Director of Bennetts Associates said: “Islington has very few open spaces so the transformation of this hidden backwater into a lively public space will have an important impact on enriching the area’s public realm. Six years ago, during the consultation period, the public showed more interest in the new civic spaces than any other element of the masterplan, which highlighted to us, the need to create open spaces which bring the canal back to life.

“The start on-site of the residential development is an exciting moment for the practice. 259 City Road will enhance the visual identity of the area and importantly bring much needed additional affordable housing to Islington.”

James Lazarus, Director of 259 City Road Limited and British Waterways’ Head of Property Development South said: “This is the first phase in the project at 259 City Road, and will be delivered by February 2012, by which point we hope that we will also be working towards the completion of the other phases of the site. The work here complements the public realm works already completed, opening up the Basin area to the public and rejuvenating a corner of Islington that benefits from a fantastic waterside location.”

259 City Road London
259 City Road London image © Smoothe

259 City Road – Building Information

The following parties are investing in the basin head works:
– Groveworld Ltd
– London Borough of Islington
– British Waterways
– Miller Developments Ltd
– Fidelity Investments
– Government Office for London
– Architects and masterplanners: Bennetts Associates
– Landscape Design: Whitelaw and Turkington
– Contractor: Charter Construction PLC

259 City Road London images / information received 100310

Bennetts Associates

Location: 259 City Road, London, England, UK

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