New London Awards 2015: the housing category shortlist includes King's Cross gasholder buildings

More than 130 projects across 16 wide-ranging categories have been shortlisted for this year's New London Awards, recognising the best new and proposed architecture, planning and developments.
Life in a gasholder can be fun, judges have decided. Gasholders Buildings, a development by Wilkinson Eyre Architects and part of the regeneration of King’s Cross, is one of 17 schemes to be shortlisted in the housing category in this year’s New London Awards.
More than 130 projects across 16 wide-ranging categories have been shortlisted, recognising the best new and proposed architecture, planning and developments. The winners will be revealed at the Guildhall on July 7.
Each project has either been completed in the past two years or is on course to be finished soon. Apartments on the shortlist include affordable, shared-ownership and sustainable homes as well as properties for people over 55. “Pocket” homes for first-time buyers at 20 per cent under market rate also feature, along with 16 flats fronted by an old Art Deco cinema in Bayswater.
Among the projects featured in the homes category is the redevelopment of a 17th-century Grade II-listed tower that was once part of St Mary Somerset church in the City. Architects Pilbrow & Partners will put living quarters at the top and exchange the lead roof for a glazed terrace — which will save anyone the trouble of stealing it.


That degree of reinvention is impressive and naturally comes with a very exclusive price tag. Nevertheless, ingenuity trickles down, and among the shortlisted developments, there are plenty of clever and more economical ideas that do not skimp on style.
In many cases, flats are broken up into groups to create rhythm and better light, rather than great monolithic blocks, and a great deal of consideration has been given both to outside space and to the public realm. Such life-enhancing aspects help set this new breed of flats apart.
At Gasholders, which like St Mary Somerset Tower is also Grade II listed, Wilkinson Eyre will create three blocks of differing heights inside the famous Victorian so-called “Siamese Triplet” gasholder frames at King’s Cross, which were built using 123 cast-iron columns.
The gasholders were dismantled in 2001 and are currently being refurbished in Yorkshire, before being reassembled on their original site. Bridges link the three buildings and there will be sky gardens. These 140 new flats will be red-hot.
But there are plenty of great ideas at the lower end of the market, too. Lime Wharf by Stephen Davy Peter Smith Architects, in Hackney, is a terrific scheme on Regent’s Canal for Family Mosaic housing association. The stylish zinc-clad building has 52 new homes, of which six are shared-ownership and 18 rented.
Spring Mews, designed by The Manser Practice, is a mixed-use development incorporating 378-bedroom student accommodation plus a hotel and office space, all on an old industrial site in Vauxhall’s Nine Elms opportunities area, sitting snugly next to the railway tracks.
As part of Lendlease’s £1.5 billion regeneration of Elephant and Castle, South Gardens by Maccreanor Lavington will replace the Heygate Estate with 360 new homes, of which 90 will be “affordable”. There will be a considered mix of townhouses, mansion blocks and a 16-storey tower. The project is due to complete in 2017.

For first-time buyers with a decent salary who are still priced out of the market, Pocket Living, which is backed by the Mayor to deliver stylishly fitted, slightly smaller-than-usual homes, but for 20 per cent less than market price, is using Metropolitan Workshop to design a snazzy 21-storey tower block called Mapleton Crescent in Wandsworth town centre. Pocket’s biggest project to date, with 86 flats, there will be a rooftop garden and shared balconies.
In Barking and Dagenham, Patel Taylor Architects has designed an interesting group of homes for the over-55s on two sites. Called Courtyard Housing, it is clustered around a large communal garden to encourage people to socialise.

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