Preston Road

From Water to Density

The element of water found on site inspired the building's stepped form, increasing the site density by 29% past a prior granted value.

35 units
170 units/ha

Added value

10 units extra / £4.5 gdv

"Autor are that rare architect that combine innovative vision with the precision required to navigate the complexities of planning."

Rakesh Desai | CEO | Northwood Estates


This is the first project to successfully use Geomancy, usually used to find oil or water, as a driver to produce an increased density and seamlessly merge a project into its context.

Stuck for a long time the site was not economically viable for development. Approaching the problem with our left brain, we approached a Geomant who worked with Daniel Liebeskind on the Jewish museum in Berlin. Explaining that the site ‘energy’ level was particularly low, he suggested that the element of water could counterbalance this.

When translating the hexagonal structure of water into an architectural grid we found it fit perfectly onto the site’s topography. This created a building of various intersecting volumes, inherently merging with the leafy nature of the context.

The stepped form grows from the site, translating from gardens to terraces to balconies, giving rise to a series of large planted architectural features. The angled facades naturally frame windows which look out towards the park, creating rich and dynamic spaces for residents.

Two types of multi-stock bricks, detailed masonry patterns and core-ten balcony designs are used to create a natural pallet of materials that blend with the character of the surrounding landscape.

The playful use of the hexagon grid translates from the exterior into the interior where the plan is rationalised for simplicity of construction, where staircases and corridor walls retain reminders of the hexagonal concept.

Working with the Story of the Site has enabled the scheme to move forward with a 30% increase in density compared to the previously approved proposal, whilst providing a newly invigorated sense of place and identity.

Preston Road