Merging old and new at the mixed-use Macaulay Walk

Serviced by a dedicated concierge, and benefiting from basement parking, high quality external landscaping and a shopping collection service, including cold storage, Macaulay Walk is a remarkable blend of brand new and ex industrial buildings that form an award winning mixed-use development in the heart of Clapham Old Town.

Designed by Assael Architects and built by Grainger Plc the development combines converted 19th century warehouse buildings with contemporary one, two and three-bedroom homes, apartments, penthouses and offices.

Design inspiration
The development’s design takes its inspiration from the local legacy which dates back to the original Ross Company’s Optical Works, which was originally located on the land. Grainger’s vision was to provide high-quality and contemporary homes whilst preserving the rich history of the site and maintaining Clapham Old Town’s sense of community.

The design transformed six of the site’s existing buildings, which enhance the streetscape and Conservation Area, creating a community of unique residential accommodation. The remainder of the site was rebuilt, and now comprises of five new buildings, four of which are residential and the last designed to create flexible commercial, studio space.

Reflecting the site’s history and the varied architecture, some of the buildings were refurbished and their original features retained and complimented by the contemporary new buildings. The final design has enhanced the ‘village’ character of the development while providing homes for modern living.

Reinstating the internal street feature of the original site has also introduced a public route onto Clapham Common and established a public space, highlighted by open water rills and large mature trees, at the heart of the new neighbourhood.

The sensitive conversion of the 19th century industrial buildings into luxury houses, penthouses and apartments has successfully merged the character of the past with the new home efficiency of brand new properties.

To achieve this the original decorative brickwork and Victorian ironwork was retained, to maintain the buildings’ period character and preserve the history of the site. However, all the needs for comfortable, contemporary and sustainable living have then been thoughtfully added. By making use of the original windows through and adopting an intelligent open-plan design, which includes open roof trusses, mezzanines and external gardens, each property has been laid out to maximise space and natural light.

Four penthouse apartments also take full advantage, via a rooftop extension and terrace, of the panoramic views of Central London and the nearby Clapham Common.

Residential new build
In contrast to the converted warehouses, the four brand new residential buildings have a contemporary architectural look. They have been designed with attention to height, massing, materials and spatial relationships, which draws inspiration from the original site’s varied historical context.

The new buildings include a private mews of four new houses to the north of the development’s internal street, with individual gardens and terraces. One further, individual house is located at the pinnacle of the internal walk to the south and embraces an ‘upside down’ layout with two bedrooms at ground floor and living spaces on the upper floor. It also benefits from a private garden and balcony.

Fronting Macaulay Road, a new apartment building provides a contemporary entrance to the new neighbourhood with its vertically staggered façade designed to gesture the adjacent existing building. The final new building at no.29 Macaulay Road accommodates the scheme’s affordable units, which have been designed to mirror the converted former manager’s house that sits beside it.

Commercial space
The final building provides 30,000 sq ft of open-plan commercial space for multi-occupancy and is suitable for a variety of different sized business.

Studios are set around a central landscaped courtyard with overhead footbridges that provide access to the workspaces and link the two sides of the building.

Rather uniquely, the planning consent for this building included the option for automatic conversion, after twelve months from practical completion, of any unsold units to residential use, without the need for additional planning applications. Therefore, the design achieves a balance between residential and commercial and delivers studios attractive to the working cultural sector, which are also capable of conversion into residential ‘loft style’ apartments

Residential interiors
The open-plan apartments, some of which are duplexes, and houses have been built with high quality materials and feature exposed brickwork, high-ceilings and large windows.

The new homes have large oak doors with bespoke bronze handles, which reflect the site’s industrial heritage. There a marble countertops in the bathrooms, premium lighting and rich wood flooring throughout. Blending the old with the new, existing features such as iron joists and wooden beams have been renovated to remain sympathetic and create a link to the building’s history.

To add to the success of the development, Macaulay Walk was awarded with ‘Best Mixed-Use Development’ and ‘Development of the Year’ for a scheme of 26-100 houses and /or apartments completed in the last 12 months. In addition, Assael Architecture, were awarded ‘Architect of the Year’ in the same competition.

Having collected the well deserved awards Grainger Plc development director, Mark Woodrow said:

“Winning two awards is a huge achievement and it is great to see all of our hard work being recognised. Macaulay Walk has been one of our most successful developments to date and we believe that this is down to our commitment to create a development which is not only sympathetic to the history of the site, but also compliments the surrounding architecture.”

By David Mote, Editor