PRP has delivered the regeneration of the iconic Maiden Lane estate. This has provided 273 new homes across ten new buildings of up to 20 storeys for the London Borough of Camden with the project completing in January 2018.

Creating space 

Back in 2010 The London Borough of Camden commissioned a project to provide new housing and regenerate the estate, through demolition of existing industrial buildings and studio flats, creating space for new buildings and opening up views and pedestrian routes to York Way which is a major road and public transport link. The project was enabled by the London Borough of Camden’s Community Investment Programme, and became an early example of how local councils can deliver affordable housing through cross-subsidy from private sale and the long-term leasing of commercial spaces.

Although residents have taken great pride in their estate, it suffered from lack of investment and the condition of the public spaces and environment was poor. The effect of this, combined with the estate being contained by railway lines to the south and west and the rear gardens of properties to the north, gave the whole area an isolated feel and lack of permeability, which in turn intensified deprivation and other related social problems.

Project brief

To meet these challenges and overcome local housing shortages, the brief called for a high percentage of affordable housing, together with improved public space, new shops and community facilities. The remit was to regenerate the eastern edge of the estate whilst also tying in with the existing, distinctive architecture in the main body of the estate to the west. The main objectives included provision of new homes, to open up the east edge of the estate, to create new pedestrian routes between York Way and the main centre of the estate and to improve the public realm and landscape. Specifically the areas were Allensbury Place, St Thomas Place, Broadfield Lane and Elm Friars Walk.

The design itself pays homage to the original architecture of the estate which was designed by Benson and Forsyth in the 1970’s. The new buildings complement the Corbusian geometry, white concrete and tight urban grain of the existing buildings, continuing the rectilinear form eastwards. An extended and improved network of private and public open spaces has ultimately improved permeability and legibility for pedestrians, and the dramatic York Way frontage has given the estate the public face that it truly deserves.

The tangible benefits

  • More homes
  • Revenue for Council to renovate other areas of the estate
  • Improved public spaces and gardens
  • Improved play and social interaction
  • Improved presence and identity of the estate within the neighbourhood
  • New uses in the new buildings

Hardscape materials chosen

A robust material was needed for the footpaths and roads which were designed as shared surfaces. A landscape material with natural aggregates, a wide range of size options and colours was imperative including a red clay colour that could match into existing clay tile paviours on the estate. The latter became Hardscape’s Kellen Breccia Marrone and Liscio Cottrio which achieved the desired effect as a wayfinding system also. The other materials were also chosen from the Kellen range including Breccia Tagenta A, B, C and E setts and Lavaro Grijs 712 flush kerbs to complement the paving.

The specific paving finishes provided a uniform and coordinated palette of materials across all the streets and public spaces with hardscape being on hand from the outset reviewing and offering information about all manner of possible alternative paving options.

Award-winning

On Friday 1st March 2019 at the Imperial War Museum North, Manchester, PRP’s regeneration of the Maiden Lane Estate won a Civic Trust Award. The judges said: “The regeneration has strengthened the original vision of the estate, uplifting the quality and use of many of the external spaces and providing additional amenity space. The quality of architectural and urban response was positive and an excellent example of local authority managed estate regeneration.”  Maiden Lane also made the London shortlist at the 2018 RIBA Regional Awards.

Lasting legacy

In terms of the social impact to the people living there, the scheme has provided a massive improvement to the environment for residents and gives an improved image and perception of the area generally with a significantly better public realm. Hardscape was proud to be amongst the collaborators below.

Client: London Borough of CamdenLandscape Architects and Architects: PRP Architects LLP; Main Contractor: Sisk; Paving Contractor: Skidmore; Engineers: WSP and McBains CooperPaving materials supplier: Hardscape