Continental House
Type: Architecture, Mixed use

Theme, context:
Iungo Studio has been appointed to develop a site located within a light industrial/commercial estate, near the banks of the Regents Canal in North London.
A difficult site located on the boundary of the estate is bordered by low-rise, terraced houses to its North, taller residential buildings and a narrow but highly valuable opening to Regents Canal to its South-West, and the to warehouses populating the estate to its South-East.
Brent Council’s local planning policies include the commercial estate (and the Continental House site) within an allocated area for growth, however require a comprehensive master plan to be agreed between all landowners prior any development being permitted in principle. Other local policies stipulate that all existing office floorspace should be retained and its replacement with residential will not be supported.
On site, the existing three story office building was build in the 60s and is assessed to lack architectural interest, offer extremely poor amenity to its users, while its deficient energy rating deem it expensive to run and unsustainable. At the same time, its reinforced concrete frame structure raises questions regarding the sustainability of its full demolition.
It quickly became apparent that the amalgamation of existing constraints poses the greatest challenge and requires creative thinking with a focus on complex problem solving for any potential development to be unlocked in principle.
Concept:
Following appraisal, we concluded that the structure of original building should be retained and incorporated in the new building, that the addition of new residential floorspace should not constrain future developments on adjacent land and be opened as much as possible towards the canal towpath.
In order to gain the Local Authority’s support, we aimed to achieve a high quality of design, deploy sustainable strategies and offer maximum amounts of amenity both to future residents as well as to the general public.
Addressing major restrictions, the office space was placed along the boundaries with less sunshine but also those less sensitive to overlooking and privacy restrictions, while the new apartments open towards the canal, the green space proposed on site and away from other allocated development sites. At the same time, a stepped and gradual volume ensures the mass of the building will not bear visually on its neighbours but also enables the creation of sheltered, high quality private balconies, while the vertical split between office and residential influences and articulates the envelope.
A new pedestrian and cycle route was designed which would help connect the canal towpath with the nearest road through the site. A high quality open green space was integrated on site for Continental House and nearby residents to enjoy including a minimal playground, while a net gain of biodiversity has been top of mind during design development. The latter is sustained by reducing the amount of car parking and replacing it with vegetation, introduction of green roofs and living walls.
We are pleased to have convinced the local authority to support the project in principle and looking forward to leading it through completion.

Type: Architecture, Mixed use

Status: In progress

Location: London, UK