Unity Place is the latest phase of Brent Council’s twenty-year South Kilburn Regeneration in North West London. Alison Brooks Architects have designed a cluster of three modern mansion blocks to replace two derelict 1960’s towers. The scheme re-integrates the site and its communities into the wider South Kilburn neighbourhood. Three buildings provide exceptionally high quality, bright and spacious units: only three flats per core, dual aspect and communal gardens make these exemplar family-friendly homes for existing Brent residents.
Along with neighbouring buildings by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and Gort Scott opposite, our scheme forms one side of a newly opened civic square that creates a setting for the Grade II listed St. Augustine’s Church. The mansion block typology enlivens the street with frequent ground level entrances and facades punctuated with two-storey volumes, forming porticos and balconies which establish human scale and vertical rhythm. Their mansard roof ‘figure’ is both a response to the elegantly tapering neo-gothic spire of St Augustine’s church opposite and a reference to the mansard roofs of neighbouring Maida Vale.
The Garden Villa is a transitional typology – a hybrid between the 19th century semi-detached villas opposite and its higher density neighbours. Its ‘flatiron’ plan form relates to the carved forms of the other buildings and their folded plan geometry. Subtle variations in brick coursing and a prominent cornice establish a language of its own. While the building preserves as much of a street frontage as possible, the ‘flatiron’ form permits surprising oblique views from the street into the scheme’s green heart.
The scheme is designed to be fully barrier-free, with areas that generally exceed the London Housing Design Guide. The apartments are all dual aspect to optimise natural cross ventilation and provide safe overlooking to the communal gardens. Many have full width balconies across the west elevation to take in the afternoon sun. All have generous 2.6m ceilings and full height windows. The scheme will connect to the site wide CHP with green roofs, a high-performance envelope and MVHR to reduce heat loss and energy consumption.