High Road

A Church-Housing Facade

The character of an existing police station and two churches give rise to a heritage-sensitive design, adding one extra floor.

30 units + 1480 sqft
180 units/ha

Added value

9 units extra / £4m gdv


The aim has been to save the existing much-loved police station and 2 local trees, respect the listed buildings adjacent, including two churches and the Islamic Centre opposite, while creating a conservation area- sensitive design approach at two floors above the neighbouring context? The project needed to become a sculptural echo of the historic context, reveal commonly shared urban devices and provide existing and new residents with strong, reflective and grounded sense of place.

Working with the existing buildings, context and details, the design should provide a harmonizing proposal with a deeper connection its surroundings. We envisaged a heritage housing façade that transcends the standard residential typology to integrate, learn from and re-interpret the existing character, forming a proactive dialogue between old and new. As a result, the collective memory of place has been preserved and enhanced to provide an increased sense of belonging to the existing building and a design which encourages new and future residents to “settle-in” to their historic surroundings.

The elevations become sculpted context through geometric alignment, detailed relationships and architectural features, relating to the neighbouring churches, Islamic Centre, police station and High Road townhouses. The new design integrates with the existing context, through playfully echoing and speaking in a similar dialect. In re-interpreting local heritage with residential façade design, this project protects and contributes to the historic architecture and conservation context of Willesden High Road.

A sense of place is retained and enhanced through the renovation and integration of the police station, retention of two existing trees, and provision of further trees in the rear courtyard. Existing residents benefit from reduced overshadowing to neighbouring properties, while new residents gain from much needed affordable workspace and housing.

A high-density floor plan ties in seamlessly with building sculpture and the local terraced housing grid, using a holistic approach to façade design, sculpture and structural efficiency. These devices extend to the positioning of windows and balconies in relation to adjacent properties and building alignments, to further animate the urban rhythm.

The design is proud of its heritage, learns from its context and finds a new way forward, creating a strengthened identity for its context, echoing and reworking its historic origins.

High Road