Our approach to this design was shaped by a direct response to the former proposal that was refused and rejected by the local council and residents.
There seems to be a few previous design proposals that have clearly ignored any of the site constraints/opportunities and more importantly ignored the historic importance of the sites setting.
The site sits within the Dartmouth park conservation area and is just one road down from the famous Grove Terrace, one of the most beautiful Georgian terraces in London in our opinion.
DHaus were appointed over a year and a half ago to see if they could produce a design that met the high expectations of the residents yet delivered the clients brief of turning this abandoned looking petrol station into a lovely place to live.
we first analysed exactly where the previous scheme went wrong, bulky mass, nondescript facades, over exceeding the sites natural capacity, it sounds like we are being a little harsh to the previous architect, but we should not just blame the previous architects, they may have had their hands tied by the large wheels that turn in our society.
Once we went through the planning refusal reports in detail we started to design based on all these external factors, appropriate site mass, quality of design, orientation, setting etc…
We entered a pre-planning discussion with the planning department that lasted a year, we went in front of Camden’s Design Review Panel, and presented the designs to residents and councillors, which gave us so much positive constructive feedback.
Our initial design idea was inspired by the historic Green lung of open green spaces along the Highgate road, our earliest discussion with Camden was to relink the 2 green spaces either side of the site. This means that we are proposing to reinstate the green lung as close to how it was back in 1873.
This new green space acts as buffer for the proposed architecture behind, we are proposing 6 small mews houses that appear to be single storey from the Highgate road side, to preserve the clear unbroken green line from the street. We have put the entrances to the houses on the College Lane, like the other old historic cottages further south along the road.
The proposed new architecture itself was a careful response to the comments of the Local Design Review Panel, (A panel of local academics, planners, architects, designers).
What they felt was appropriate was a small mass at the rear of the site that would appear single storey, using local London stock brick formed in arches to reference the local colours and the railway arches that sit directly next to the site.
The new houses are positioned so that the 25-degree rule that allows light to the lowest windows of the large block, Denyer house, behind meaning that their sunlight/daylight will not be affected by the new development. Furthermore we are proposing a green roof over all of the houses so that the residents high up in Denyer House look down on to wild flowers and greenery creating a habitat for various birds and insects/wildlife.
Interestingly, one of the main comments back from the public consultation was that the abandoned graffiti looking petrol station of the current site attracts anti-social behaviours and that the residents would welcome life to that empty sometimes dangerous part of College Lane when at night, the new development would bring life and lot of lighting to College Lane. Thus, a natural deterrent for anti-social behaviour.
“when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.
Architects: The D*Haus Company