Designed by Child Graddon Lewis for Hackney Council and Countryside Properties, the scheme includes over 32 per cent affordable units and also features roof gardens.
Its site sits adjacent to a Grade II*-listed church, a listed Georgian terrace and 1930s flats, with the changing scale and brick colour used on different parts of the scheme reflecting the changing context.
The tallest block has a distinctive concave face at one end, which provides a prominent marker at a road junction, while its flanks further reinstate the line of the surrounding streets, with front doors and gardens to some dwellings giving directly out on to them.
The variety and quality of the landscaped areas are key features of the overall ensemble, providing social spaces intended to enrich the experience of those living within the development – with raised beds provided for residents to grow their own food.
St Leonard’s Court manifests as a perimeter building comprised of three distinct, interconnecting blocks. Providing 71 new homes, the development occupies a triangular site in Hackney, east London.
Despite its proximity to Old Street Station the immediate context of the site does not feel typical of its location. The adjacent grounds of the Grade II*-listed St John the Baptist Church offer a leafy setting for the new development, with the church itself helping to inform the material palette of the architecture. Each of three blocks take inspiration from their direct context: Block C, the shortest block, is defined by a deep, red brick and reflects the scale and character of the adjacent Finn House along Bevenden Street; Block A offers a contemporary take on a Georgian terrace with Smead Dean London Stock brick sat beneath grey zinc cladding, reflective of the mansard roofs visible further along New North Road. These neighbouring buildings are, again, also listed and define the character of the street. Block B, the tallest of the three blocks rises up to eight storeys and brings presence and much needed scale to define the corner of Bevenden Street and New North Road.
Respectful of the adjacent church, the material palette is simple with deep, recessed balconies punctuating the façade. A gentle curve to the east elevation is a reminder of a former roundabout that faced the site and staggered aluminium fins are a subtle addition to animate the façade without appearing overly ornate.
The real gem to this new development is hidden within. A large, communal courtyard garden space is sheltered from the outside world by the perimeter buildings. Here a variety of planting is interspersed with seating areas – some secluded and private, others more open and communal. There are informal play spaces as well as an area for outside dining, encouraging a real sense of community and a testament to truly ‘tenure blind’, mixed-tenure living. The central courtyard garden is further complemented by two additional rooftop gardens, one atop of Block A and the other above Block C. Here, glimpses of the City remind you of the building’s central location whilst also offering peaceful areas to sit and relax.
St Leonard’s Court offers a range of homes across multiple tenures, replacing old dilapidated building stock with fit-for-purpose, modern homes near the heart of the City. The communal courtyard and rooftop gardens provide a unique offering as part of the wider regeneration programme that Hackney Council is undertaking.
Andrew Lum, architect, Child Graddon Lewis
St Leonard’s Court forms part of our ambitious programme to build new Council homes through an innovative in-house and not-for-profit approach. Huge thanks to Child Graddon Lewis for designing and delivering such an outstanding project.
Building new Council housing doesn’t mean compromising on good design, and we work closely with the design team and the local community in developing the plans, placing a strong emphasis on creating high-quality homes in well-designed buildings.
This approach means that every resident benefits from great homes, built to excellent space standards and high levels of daylight irrespective of tenure, whilst also designing great estate-based neighbourhoods with usable communal spaces and a balance between privacy and communality.
Cllr Guy Nicholson, deputy mayor and cabinet member for housing supply, planning, culture and regeneration, Hackney Council
Start on site March 2018
Completion date October 2020
Gross internal floor area 6,572m2
Gross (internal + external) floor area 7,740m2
Form of contract or procurement route Design and Build
Construction cost £24m
Construction cost per m2 £2,810
Architect Child Graddon Lewis
Client Hackney Council & Countryside Properties
Structural engineer Corbett & Tasker
M&E consultant Ramboll
Landscape consultant : Townshend Landscape Architects
CDM co-ordinator Child Graddon Lewis
Main contractor Countryside Properties
CAD software used Revit