27_BATES | Urban housing, Finsbury Park

United Kingdom


Project title: Urban housing, Finsbury Park

Recommending party
The project has been submitted by:

Sergison Bates architects



City: London 


378-386 Seven Sisters Road, London N4 2PL


Designer or design team architects:

Sergison Bates architects


Plot Area: 2235 m2

Gross Area: 2709 m2

Of which residential: 100%
Public/communal areas: -%
Facilities for the public: -%
Business/trade: 3%
Offices: -%

Number of residential units: 44
Typology of users: families
Total building costs Euros: 4.8 M€
Building Cost = Total Bulding Cost / Gross Area: 2,709 €/mq
Floor area ratio = Gross Area / Plot Area: 2,709/2,235 mq
Work started on date: 05/2004
Work completion date: 06/2008


Promoter: Circle Anglia Housing Association
Owner: Circle Anglia Housing Association
Allotment rule: Affordable housing: part subsidised rent, part shared ownership

Reduction cost percentage compared to the market value:
– assignement: 45 %
– rent: 25 %

Description of the project: 

Ugo Rivolta European Architecture Award 2011  Urban housing, Finsbury Park, London Sergison Bates architects  Three new urban villas providing 44 one- to four-bedroom apartments of mixed tenure (part social-rented and part shared ownership) are clustered around a shared space, varying in height and scale, but connected in their material and form. The strong tectonic expression of concrete flat slab and columns arranged in piers between full height window assemblies lend the structure a sense of weight and permanence, as does the monolithic appearance of the brickwork, emphasised by the deeply recessed windows and balconies. The choice of materials, scale and repeated order of the façade, with the faint forms of bay windows and set-backs, recall the familiar forms of the adjacent nineteenth-century villas, reinforcing a feeling of continuity and suggesting both familiarity and difference with the immediate urban context.   The project eschews the light-weight solutions that tend to be generated by the conventional house-builders’ market.  In a tight urban site and in response to a standard housing association budget, the architects have created a powerful development that engages with the surrounding buildings and urban context and seeks to evoke solidity and permanence.   Large windows and balconies facing the park provide many of the residents with landscape views, while to the rear, upper storeys have attractive views of the city and all apartments have a balcony or patio. The balconies are part of the body of the building and can be accessed from both the living room and bedroom in each flat. They form an enclosed outdoor space which is generous enough to allow seating, and feel less exposed than the conventional protruding balconies.   The internal layout of the apartments is designed to allow maximum flexibility in the use of rooms, as exemplified by the generous proportions of the hallways, which lend themselves to be used as more than simple circulation spaces, accommodating furniture, or perhaps as play areas.  All apartments meet the Lifetime Homes standards whilst, additionally, there are homes provided for wheelchair users as well as those with limited mobility. The homes all meet EcoHomes Very Good and achieved high SAP scores. The heavy weight construction, compact plan and adjustment of building form respond to orientation and maximise solar gain.  The buildings reflect the architects’ determination to pursue high standards in an affordable housing project: well designed interiors with excellent daylight make the most of the limited space available, while the solidity of construction, together with the generous common spaces engender a feeling of well-being and a sense of protection – the main pre-requisites of a sense of home.