PCKO Architects completes The Bloc, an urban regeneration scheme to house key workers in North London

The Bloc is a £25million urban regeneration residential scheme designed by PCKO Architects for Origin Housing Ltd close to the North Middlesex Hospital in Edmonton, North London. The scheme provides 221 units, incorporating 128 units for key workers/intermediate rent, 65 social rented units and 28 shared ownership units, as well as a local office for Origin Housing Ltd.

A key element of the overall design is how the integrated, high quality landscaping scheme sculpts the development through the idea of an urban village, with strong community ties promoted through features such as squares and community courtyards.

In order to encourage sustainable lifestyles the homes are built to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 and 20% of the site’s energy demands are met through on site renewable energy technologies. The efficiency of the development’s energy strategy was maximised by designing around the work/ live occupancy patterns of the residents. This also influenced the phasing strategy of the build, which was carefully planned over several years to smooth the process of decanting existing residents, who are key-workers from the nearby North Middlesex Hospital. This has been achieved successfully with the first phase completing in summer 2012 and the second and third phases following to the agreed programme.

Peter Chlapowski, Director of PCKO Architects, said:

“The Bloc is a good example of how the determination of the client, design and construction teams can enable the successful delivery of a complex project involving decanting and a programme phased over a number of years. It is a credit to all involved that the key ideas conceived in the original competition winning scheme have been taken through to completion and successfully created a lively urban village with a strong sense of place, lively architecture and an attractive environment that residents and families enjoy.”

Careful consideration was given during the design process to ensure the scheme remained appropriate to its context and as a result the development can be divided into three distinct character zones.

The constrained site measures approximately 2.2 hectares and is bounded by the North Circular Road (A406) to the North. In response to this the largest and boldest building on the site, block 1, also acts as a natural barrier to the North Circular Road. Apartments in this block have habitable rooms facing East or West and balconies open to the East, to avoid direct orientation to the busy road. The South facing façade is more expressive with larger openings and balconies zigzagging in alternation.

The second zone forms the central section of the master plan and reduces in scale compared to block one, as it is set back from the road. Blocks 2, 3 and 4 sit at right angles to block 1 on the North South axis and are expressed in plan as three ‘fingers’. This allows the apartments to face East and West and take advantage of morning and evening sunlight. A corner red box feature on the fourth floor of block 2 and fifth floor of block 3 read as a processional link leading to the ‘Main Square’ of the development whilst block 4 defines the western edge of the development. This block is set back from the site boundary in order to provide private gardens for the wheelchair accessible units.

The third zone is the most domestic in scale and character, with the buildings defining the Main Square and marking the South West corner of the development. This area consists of low-rise blocks of apartments and houses stepped back from the street line to create a pocket like enclosure. This gives a sense of privacy and respite from the busy London location.

Project Team

  • Client: Origin Housing Ltd
  • Contractor: Galliford Try Partnerships
  • Architects: PCKO Architects (Planning and WD)
  • Employers Agent: PRP (Planning and WD)
  • QS: PRP (Planning and WD)
  • Structural & Civil Engineer: MLM Consulting Engineers (Planning and WD)
  • M&E Engineer: Hilson Moran (Planning Only)
  • Mechanical: Js Wright (WD only)
  • Electrical: Emersons (WD only)
  • Planning Consultant: John Laing LaSalle
  • Landscape Architects: Allen Pyke Associates (Planning only)
  • Ecology: Fleur Oliver (Planning only)
  • Tree Surveys: BroadOaks (Planning and WD)