grimshaw's canalside housing project in london was built on an 'impossible site'
 

grimshaw's canalside housing project in london was built on an 'impossible site'

 

in the third feature of a film series documenting some of grimshaw’s most significant projects, we take an exclusive look inside a residential scheme built on a complex site in north-west london. the project came about after supermarket chain sainsbury’s asked the architects to obtain planning permission for a new store in camden. grimshaw negotiated that residences should take the form of individual houses rather than a block of flats, and the project was approved in just six weeks.

grimshaw grand union
the scheme is located on a strip of land that runs parallel to the canal
image © jo reid & john peck

 

 

located on a strip of land that runs parallel to a canal, ‘grand union walk’ includes 10 three-bedroom houses, a one-bedroom maisonette, and a studio flat. bound by a wall to the south to reduce traffic noise, the site was maximized further by optimizing turning circles for delivery vehicles. the houses are united through the use of industrial building materials, with dense concrete blockwork, precast concrete floors, and felt-covered timber roofs.

grimshaw grand union
the development includes 10 three-bedroom houses, a one-bedroom maisonette, and a studio flat
image © jo reid & john peck

 

 

the narrow site and the need to allow sunlight into living areas without south-facing windows dictated the distinctive form of the houses,’ explains grimshaw. ‘at first-floor level, L-shaped open plan living spaces are top-lit; their double-height dining areas can act as external spaces, opening to a canal-facing balcony in summer months.’ watch the video in full at the top of the page, and see designboom’s ongoing coverage of grimshaw’s work here.

grimshaw grand union
floor-to-ceiling glazing provides plenty of natural daylight
image © jo reid & john peck

grimshaw grand union
the kitchen and dining area
image © jo reid & john peck

grimshaw grand union
a bird’s-eye view of the lower level living space
image © jo reid & john peck

grimshaw grand union
the houses are united through a use of industrial building materials
image © jo reid & john peck

grimshaw grand union
the project is located in camden, north-west london
image © jo reid & john peck

grimshaw grand union
axonometric drawing of the compact structures
image © grimshaw

grimshaw grand union
site plan with the residential units shown to the south-west
image © grimshaw

grimshaw grand union
typical floor plan with canalside balcony
image © grimshaw

 

 

project info:

 

location: london, united kingdom
project type: living
client: j sainsbury plc
area: 10,500 sqm / 113,021 sqf
status: completed 1988
photography: jo reid & john peck

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