Office to Homes Transformation
Northway House was originally built as a contemporary office block in the 1960’s. At the time, it was conceived as being at the forefront of construction and design, embracing new technologies in concrete and ribbon glazing systems. However, over the last two decades the building has fallen into a bad state of repair as the desire for large out of town office space has declined. The existing 13 storey building is located at the end of Whetstone High Street, creating a significant step up in height above the rest of the street scene and local context, which consists mainly of 3 storey buildings with retail at ground level, and residential and small office space above. The overall concept was born in 2012 when Redrow Homes acquired the site and started looking into the potential to rescue and reuse the existing building.
Fast forward to today and through a long and detailed planning process, we are now able to describe the completed scheme of 149 new homes at Northway House. This has been a comprehensive proposal addressing how we have approached the re use of an existing building. The existing building has been fully stripped back to the original concrete frame, insulated and then re-clad with a lightweight stone cladding. The outcome is a finely detailed refurbishment, reinvigorating the building and capturing the pristine character of the original building. This has been achieved by using a palette of extensive ribbon glazing to retain the original character, and stone cladding to refine the proportion of the elevations, and the incorporation of new balconies and winter gardens. We worked closely with Windoor to develop a winter garden design that fitted the overall architectural intention of the scheme for Northway House. The winter gardens were a requirement under the planning permission to provide good quality amenity space for new homes that had a good aspect, facing East but were overlooking a busy road that generated a lot of noise. The Winter gardens on the East elevation created generous, usable amenity and also fitted seamlessly into the elevation.
The system allows residents to use their outdoor amenity space all year round, so even in winter; the space provides a useful external area. In summer residents can easily fold open the sliding and or folding upper level panes to make the most of good weather. As the upper panes of the Windoor winter gardens are completely frameless, so living spaces don’t lose any daylight.
With many thanks to Laura McLaughlin, Director|Architect, RMA Architects, for writing this text.