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Location: Laycock Street, Islington, London.

Client: Murphy Group

Project Year: 2010

Cost: Over £2m

Laycock Street is a high density mixed tenure development close to Highbury and Islington Station designed by Brady Mallalieu Architects for the Murphy Group. It contains 55 flats and 13 large houses at a density of 661 habitable rooms per hectare arranged around a central courtyard together with an NHS medical centre.

Four blocks are arranged around the central courtyard area and vary from seven stories facing Laycock Street, matching the scale of adjacent buildings, to four storeys to the south and west. The front block is planned using a ‘scissor’ type arrangement ensuring all flats have a southern aspect.

The elevations to all the blocks have been designed to emphasise individuality, variety and layering using a broad palette of materials – copper, zinc, hardwood, self coloured render and aluminium. Each facade employs a slightly different handling of this palette to provide further variation across private and social tenures to ensure no distinction is made. The block facing Laycock Street has a reinforced concrete structural frame, clad in white aluminium panels, which provides an underlying and unifying rhythm overlaid with layers of glazing and timber or copper insulated panels. The arrangement of solid and void expresses the interior spaces on the elevations: Double height living spaces have tall glazed panels and bedroom spaces have larger solid panels to protect privacy. The consulting rooms to the doctors surgery are expressed as zinc volumes which is again repeated in the eastern block becoming balconies and entrances to flats.

The central courtyard is car-free and publically accessible. The landscape design was also completed by Brady Mallalieu Architects and provides a social and recreational focus. Sinuous timber and concrete benches partially enclose outdoor rooms for use of the residents and provide a visual focus when seen from above.

“Islington Central Medical Centre Medical Centre” is on Laycock Street London N1 occupying the ground and basement floors. Purpose built for a local group practice of GP’s is provides 15 consulting rooms, 2 separate reception and waiting areas together with full back up facilities including a minor operations room, library and meeting rooms. The design strategy for the space ensures that good levels of sunlight and daylight enter into the various consulting, treatment, administration and waiting rooms. This is achieved by using a variety of cross sectional devices including a curved double height atrium space with south facing glazing allowing sunlight to penetrate deep within the basement plan. The atrium space also helps visitors to orientate themselves within the building and maintain an awareness of the weather and time of day as they wait to see a doctor or nurse. Carefully chosen materials balance the strict hygiene requirements for infection control with the creation of warm, tactile spaces that are a pleasure to use.

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Facade detail

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Doctors surgery

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Main courtyard