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Barnet, London

Park-side courtyard homes inspired by a rich heritage, set in an award winning landscape

Situated in the London Borough of Barnet, the 20 hectare Colindale Gardens site has had a rich history; from early aviation pioneers and aerial photography, to use by the Metropolitan Police for 80 years as an operational training centre, and even used as the movie set for the fictional town of Sokovia, saved by Marvels Avengers. The site was acquired by Redrow Homes in 2013 through the Mayor’s London Development Panel for underused Metropolitan Police property.

Colindale Gardens Stage 03 is the final phase of the redevelopment of the former Metropolitan Police Training College delivering over 4,000 homes.

Stage 03 consists of 5 residential courtyard buildings with a central tower element. The approved hybrid application provides 1,200 homes of which 212 homes have been designed in detail, with parameter plans and design codes setting out the remainder.

In 2015 Barnet Council granted planning consent for the masterplan to redevelop the former Peel Centre site to deliver new homes in a mix of typologies and tenures, community uses such as a primary school, nursery and health centre, and shops and cafés. In addition, the masterplan includes 4 hectares of public open space and public realm.

The Stage 03 design narrative was informed by details from the site’s original Police Cadet Training College. The original building was a traditionally designed with elegant proportions, restrained in its detail with some traditional flourishes. It featured a tripartite facade with taller openings at ground floor and a top storey as a mansard roof. Prominent brick detailing was used around the building, including brick corbelling. The proposed design for the site makes reference to this building, helping to give a unique identity to the buildings and also make a direct link back to the original building and the site’s past.

The design process analysed and responded to not only the historic context but also contemporary influences as well as the previous masterplan phases. The overall design analysis took pattern, rhythm, detail and materiality into consideration. Features such as the arrangement and detailing of the façade and materiality, help to root the proposed design to its context.

The building heights are manipulated to respond to urban aspect and sunlight/daylight. The western façades that face the new Peel Park and forms the eastern edge of the park are consistent at 9 storeys for the length of the façade mirroring the Stage 01 buildings opposite. The heights are lowered to 4 storeys at the southwest to allow sunlight/daylight penetration into the communal courtyard and the dwellings that face onto it. The northern facades are lower in the centre to allow views out of the courtyard and to provide variety in the street scene.

Construction on site is ongoing, starting in the central portion of the masterplan (Stage 01) which is now partially occupied, and award-winning areas of public realm such as Peel Square, have been completed. Further reserved matters applications have been submitted to Barnet Council in connection with Stage 02 of the masterplan.

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