Mayor of Islington officially opens new BFF designed housing

The Mayor of Islington, Councillor Barry Edwards,  has officially opened the latest Burrell Foley Fischer project completed for the London Borough of Islington, to reclaim barren underused problematic garages to create a new Mews in Vulcan Way. 

The transformation of the area of tarmac and dark empty undercrofts brings fifteen two bedroom flats and two five bedroom family houses to the empty ground level of existing first floor flats.  They all now have better insulation, level access and a more attractive safer busy mews to look out on.  The proportion of the houses offered for sale, to assist with funding the social housing, have all been snapped up. 

Vulcan Way before the development

Vulcan Way before the development

Vulcan Way following the development

Vulcan Way following the development

This development is the latest in a long term BFF initiative, pioneering the development of underused, marginal ground level spaces around estates, mostly owned by Local Authorities. Using the experience and ideas gained on previously completed schemes BFF embarked on a series of studies for LB Islington in 2008. All ten of the LBI projects selected to go forward are either now complete or will be starting on site this year. 

These schemes on marginal land not only provide new housing on sites previously 'unseen' and not regarded as potential development sites, but are also an opportunity to design out anonymous areas that attract anti-social behaviour.  This results in the neighbourhood being happy to welcome new dwellings and more activity.

From barren car park....

From barren car park....

... to new attractive and safer Mews.

... to new attractive and safer Mews.

Residential Scheme in Islington gains Planning Approval

A Burrell Foley Fischer scheme for Islington Council has received Planning consent.  The scheme involves the conversion of disused undercroft garages, beneath the Trefil Walk residential block on the Williamson Estate, into 18 new residential units providing social housing, shared ownership, and private sale accommodation, as well as the refurbishment of the existing community centre.

The conversion of the disused undercroft, in addition to creating much needed affordable housing in the borough, will animate the street frontage at ground floor level and allow for improvements to security for the existing residents above.

Site location - Parkhurst Road, Islington

Site location - Parkhurst Road, Islington

Current 'blocked up' frontage of disused ground floor garages

Current 'blocked up' frontage of disused ground floor garages

New flats at ground floor bringing new life to the street frontage

New flats at ground floor bringing new life to the street frontage

A similar BFF scheme for Islington Council has recently been completed at Vulcan Way.

Former, unused, ground floor garages at Vulcan Way

Former, unused, ground floor garages at Vulcan Way

New flat, in former garages, at Vulcan Way

New flat, in former garages, at Vulcan Way

BFF 30th Anniversary - New Pym House, Angell Town

Burrell Foley Fischer LLP was appointed in 1999 to design the first new housing at Angell Town, based on our new Masterplan for the Estate.  The 127 new dwellings establish an urban-block layout which integrates the new streets, mews, open spaces, squares and already existing mature landscaping and outdoor sports area, with the existing street pattern and offer routes across the site to connect areas that were formally isolated.

"Could easily be taken for a smart, modern upmarket private development... the generous, intelligent planning of the dwellings themselves should ensure that these do indeed become 'lifetime homes', in every sense of the word".  Housing Design Awards 2000

"The architecture of this community housing for London Borough of Lambeth is exemplary in many ways, but especially in the delightful quality of environment that is created for the users".  RIBA Award for Architecture 2002  

BFF 30th Anniversary - Geoff Marsh Court, Kentish Town, London

A mixed-use development for Pocket Living providing housing, 22 new one bedroom and studio flats for sale to key workers within the borough, barrow storage for market traders in the neighbouring Queen’s Crescent Market, and retaining existing employment use on the site.

Pocket sets demanding design standards for its schemes, which are conveniently located for public transport.  The Company’s focus is on the smaller infill sites where it aims to deliver 100% affordable housing on plots that might otherwise end up with developments below a borough’s threshold for affordable housing.  

The flats are economically planned around a central courtyard and are arranged to promote a community sprit within the development.  The building is highly insulated and is extremely energy efficient to avoid creating a fuel poverty trap.  The design incorporates solar thermal panels to preheat the domestic water supply and assist in achieving an Eco Homes rating of “Very Good”.

The development received a commendation in the Evening Standards Awards 2009, was a finalist in the London Borough of Camden Building Quality Awards 2009 and was the runner up in Building Magazine's Housing Project of the Year 2009.

BFF 30th Anniversary - Angell Town

The Angell Town project is a pilot scheme in Brixton, South London, which addresses the design and management problems typical of a 1970s deck-access estate. The initiative to improve the environment of what had become a ‘sink estate’ came initially from the tenants, who were very keen to make sure that the proposals by the London Borough of Lambeth were tailored to the needs and desires of people of the estate.  In 1988 three projects were initiated; a Workspace Project using derelict ground-level garages; an Enterprise Centre for training and employment opportunities and a Pilot Project to replan the deck-access housing.

The urban design objectives were to reintegrate the estate with the surrounding areas of Brixton by re-establishing a street based urban layout; to establish an active public realm at ground level; to establish a hierarchy of public and private space; to de-industrialise the estate; to create clear, safe routes for people who use and live on the estate and to solve a variety of related problems to do with security, refuse collection, dangerous parking and traffic, and the general hostility of the surroundings.

The project won many awards including Community Initiative Award 1983, 1985, 1987, 1990, 1991, Times/RIBA Community Enterprise Award 1989, Civic Trust Award 1990, and The Communities Projects Foundation Award for Partnership.

In 2008 the ongoing success of the project was acknowledged by Baroness Whitaker in the House of Lords. “ A few weeks ago I saw in Angell Town in Brixton the rehabilitation of exactly one of those estates, accompanied by new building, which created attractive, safe and affordable homes within a strong community, steered by residents’ own wishes.  Nearly three-quarters of them said that they now felt safe, that they were satisfied with their new homes and that Angell Town was now a pleasant, friendly and attractive place to live.  A few years ago, half knew a victim of crime and it was a deeply unpopular place to live.”  

BFF 30th Anniversary - Bliss Mill

The Restored Mill
Burrell Foley Fischer LLP was commissioned to bring a new lease of life to the derelict buildings of Bliss Mill, Listed Grade II, built by William Bliss II in 1873 for the weaving of high-quality tweeds. The project involved converting and restoring the main Mill Building, the weaving shed, the Warping House, the Lodge House and outbuildings into residential accommodation, with landscaped grounds, a swimming pool, squash courts, tennis courts and other leisure facilities for use by residents. The restoration work included administering an English Heritage Grant for fabric repairs.

The Derelict Mill prior to restoration

BFF 30th Anniversary - St Georges Estate

Burrell Foley Fischer LLP was selected by the Estate Steering Group (working with EastendHomes) to develop a masterplan and design proposals to RIBA Stage C for St George’s Estate in Shadwell, London. 

200 new flats in ten, 9 storey, new infill sites
The brief from EastendHomes called for extensive consultation with the Estate’s residents, a third of whom are leaseholders within a significant Bengali community, and the preparation of a masterplanning report.  Burrell Foley Fischer LLP’s design proposals were included in the offer document on which Council tenants based their ‘yes’ vote to transfer the management of the estate from the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to EastendHomes.

The new infill sites currently under construction
St George’s Estate has 500 residential units which are to be brought into line with the standards set out in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Decent Homes policy. Proposals explored how to make the best use of available land to improve the organisation of public and private space.  The homes are to be set in surroundings that people value and enjoy, but that also offer a long-term sustainable future for St George’s.  The project is currently on site.
The first new homes to be completed

BFF 30th Anniversary - Tomorrow's New Communities

A concept using the contemporary vision of a small town to inform the transformation of former asylums (often with listed buildings and landscapes) into communities or urban quarters.

John Burrell’s ground-breaking and award-winning work on the reuse of institutional brownfield NHS land was published in 1987 with the aid of an RIBA Research Award as ‘The Psychiatric Hospital as a New Community’. It has had far-reaching influence on planning policy and John Burrell became a member of the Labour Party working group on Urban Design and Planning.

In 1991 it was the outright winner of the joint Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Town and Country Planning Association competition for ‘Tomorrow’s New Communities’ for new settlements between 4,000 and 10,000 people.

Private home created in early Georgian property

We have handed over to a private client their new family home, created for them in an early Georgian terraced linked to a mews house in central London.  The Listed Grade II building had for the last century been used as offices by a firm of solicitors and BFF secured Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent for the scheme.

The house, over 5 floors, was completely refurbished installing new services, contemporary bathrooms and providing a workspace for the client.  A new “heart of the home” has been achieved by creating a glazed enclosure in a light well, allowing a spacious kitchen, dining and living area on one floor.  Purpose built joinery throughout contributes to the modern, quality but understated feel in accordance with the Client’s brief.

The property does not have a garden so a new roof terrace has been created, nestled between the retained original rear roof pitches and set 1.1m below the line of the front ridge so that it is not visible from the street in a sensitive area of London.  It will provide the family with a private oasis of calm in the middle of the bustling city.   

Kings Cross / St Pancras Development Area

As Central St Martins College of Art and Design moves into their new premises the redevelopment of the Kings Cross/St Pancras area of London continues.  Burrell Foley Fischer have been involved with a number of commercial projects in the area including two office developments and a mixed use scheme, including D1, B1 and residential uses.

We obtained Planning Permission for the conversion of a former purpose-built industrial printing works building on Wharfdale Road, within the Kings Cross Conservation Area, into offices and small business units.

We also obtained Planning Permission for the Noah’s Yard development in York Way.  The scheme provides 6,000 sq ft of office accommodation together with a ground floor restaurant, opening onto the Regent’s Quarter development.

For Argent’s Kings Cross Central development we prepared a scheme to test the parameter plans for Block J, to confirm that the developers brief for mixed use could be accommodated within the parameters for which Outline Planning Permission was being sought. 

Click here for further information on our commercial projects

Restaurants open at Castle Quay, Bedford

The Riverside Grill has opened at Castle Quay in Bedford.  This new restaurant offers diners a stylish and artistic environment to enjoy a combination of food and art, showcasing the talent of staff and students of Bedford College.  This is the first to open of the three restaurants units on the development, all with  a south facing terrace overlooking the River Ouse and the Castle Bailey Gardens archaeological site.

Castle Quay, a Burrell Foley Fischer designed multi-use development, comprises in addition to the restaurants, 108 flats, eight speciality shops and an archaeological park. The project is built on the site of the inner and outer bailey of Bedford Castle and within the curtiledge of a Scheduled Ancient Monument, with six months of archeology preceding the construction works.

Visit the Bedford Riverside Grill Website

Planning Permission received for another Homes for Islington Scheme

A Burrell Foley Fischer scheme for two new build dwellings and the creation of a new mews and landscaped square utilising existing redundant garages for Homes for Islington, has been approved by the Local Planning Authority.

The affordable housing for rent at Vulcan Way on the Westbourne Estate includes 15 new single bedroom flats accessed from ground level and 2 three bedroom family houses with outside garden space at ground level.  The houses have access to gardens and adjacent disabled persons parking and are suitable as mobility standard dwellings.

This comprehensively considered scheme creates a new landscaped mews with trees with the vacant garages converted to dwellings. This will inject new life, activity and security at ground level.  There is a new railed off public garden as part of the scheme. Currently the site has 100% coverage in tarmac with no planting whatsoever.  Modified upper walkway balustrading will also bring more light and passive surveillance to the new mews.

Demolition marks start of Seven Sisters Road Residential Development

Demolition of the existing building on the site of 143 Seven Sisters Road, Islington started today, marking the commencement of this exciting development.  

The new development will provide two new 5 bedroom family houses and four 2 or 3 bedroom family flats on an underused site for Homes for Islington.  Burrell Foley Fischer LLP secured Planning Permission for the scheme, as part of a review of vacant, problematic and underused sites owned by Islington Council.     

Visit the Homes for Islington Website

BFF hosts debate on retrofitting existing housing stock to reduce their carbon footprint

The challenging targets for reducing the carbon footprint of this country’s housing stock over the coming years together with the current economic climate mean that attention is turning to appropriate methods to retrofit existing houses. Burrell Foley Fischer LLP hosted representatives of all sections of the housing industry, Clients, Registered Social Landlords, Local Authorities, Designers and Contractors for a debate on best practice.

The event began with a presentation on a project to retrofit a Victorian terraced house in Haringey in collaboration with the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and the University College London. One of a series of projects being sponsored by the TSB to demonstrate deep cuts in carbon emissions and exemplar energy efficient measures in UK social housing. The Energy Saving Trust is working in partnership with each of the projects to collect data from each of the retrofitted houses, including internal and external temperature, humidity and CO2 levels. This data will then be assimilated to form a database which will be made available to researchers, social landlords and energy companies to ensure that the most cost effective technologies are employed in future retrofits. There followed a lively debate with everybody very interested in the materials and details being developed to achieve a high air-tightness in an existing building and how these can be used to give an economically viable solution.

John Burrell appointed to Southwark Design Review Panel

John Burrell has been appointed to the Southwark Design Review Panel. The panel’s purpose is to advise the Council on the architectural merits of any large scheme proposed for Southwark. It consists of a team of architects and other design professionals who offer design advice at the pre-application stage.
Cases that are referred to the panel generally are proposals which are significant because of their size or uses they contain or their site. Proposals with an importance greater than their size, use, or site would suggest can also be reviewed if, for example, they likely to establish the planning, form or architectural quality for future larger scale development or re-development.
John brings to the panel over 30 years experience of urban design and masterplanning and has recently been working in Southwark on design proposals for the redevelopment of the Aylesbury Estate with Urban Initiatives.

BFF projects part of "50 years of London Architecture" exhibition

In June 2010 three projects by Burrell Foley Fischer LLP were included in an exhibition of 50 years of London Architecture, organised by the Architecture Club as part of the London Festival of Architecture. Around 300 projects were chosen to represent the immense range of work completed in London over the last half century.

View the Architecture Club Website

Angell Town

Following the completion of a ‘pilot project’ in 1999 to radically convert and eradicate the deck access planning, Burrell Foley Fischer LLP developed a master plan for new homes updating the principle of the urban block typology to create a variety of settings for new dwelling types. Angell Town now includes new streets, mews, courts, street play spaces, and squares built around mature trees. Areas that were undefined and underused now make sense and seamlessly re-connect Angell Town with the existing street pattern. Places in the area that were previously cut-off by the monolithic original deck access plan now connect Angell Town with its neighbourhood.

Visit Angell Town Case Study on the CABE website

Almeida Theatre, Islington, London

The Almeida (with which Burrell Foley Fischer LLP has been associated since the theatre’s inception in 1980) has developed into a performance venue of exceptional quality. The audience occupies the same space as the performers and neither is further than twelve metres from the other.

Development works have included extending the backstage facilities, a new foyer, bar and technical areas, new service installations and seating, and improved disability access and acoustics. The extensive overhaul of the auditorium has preserved the special ‘found’ quality of the theatre.

Visit the Alemida Theatre Website

Stratford Picturehouse

In 1997 Strafford City Challenge commissioned Burrell Foley Fischer LLP to create Stratford Picture House as a landmark development on a disused car park as part of the regeneration strategy for Stratford East. It provides a new public square as the beginnings of a new cultural quarter. As well as the four screens the cinema has exhibition and café bar facilities, and a private restaurant integral to the design.

“While the rest of Britain goes crazy for the bland multiplex, east London is now home to two picture houses that are also architectural masterpieces” The Independent – 5th October 1997

View the Stratford Picturehouse Website