Engineering: GL&SS Structural Engineers (Tim McFarlane)
Consultants: Planning Consultant, Wildstone, Philip Allard.
Collaborators: Bespoke Joinery KT:3D
Text description provided by the architects. Spencer Courtyard is a development of five new dwellings created in a tight brownfield site in Finchley. The former disused timber yard presented several difficult problems to overcome before a coherent scheme emerged.
A considered approach from initial site investigation and layout, individual house arrangement to the choice of materials demonstrates the high quality of this design. The scale and form are directly influenced by the context with the strong rooflines a response to the local vernacular.
By demonstrating that this type of housebuilding is possible in these unorthodox pockets of land it sends a positive message to all involved in making new homes in the capital. This project reinforces the fact that good, solid design and inspiring teamwork will produce uplifting places and spaces
All the people involved and necessary to make this happen have contributed to improving a derelict piece of land for the greater good. Being part of this process makes everyone from local council planners, the developer, design team, neighbours and the inhabitants realise the potential and benefits of a new scheme. The knowledge gained through a consistent approach to improvement can be adapted to projects of all sizes. The compact, robust nature of this project ensures longevity.
The environmentally striking feature of this project is the extensive use of green roofs. The benefits of this cannot be extolled highly enough. From a baron collection of ramshackle buildings and a hostile concrete concourse, 75% of the site is now covered with greenery. The inclusion on this scale really emphasises the credentials of these new houses. From the flora and fauna, wildlife, control of drainage, and thermal benefits the decision to plant green roofs - and more unusually on pitched roofs - makes the project.