Edgley Design Godson Street

Godson Street is a new-build 1,015 sqm mixed-use development in Islington, central London. It is the result of a Community Joint Venture, set up by three partner groups who were neighbours of the vacant brownfield site and came together to purchase the site and develop it in partnership. The site was divided into plots according to the ownership of each partner. The final scheme, which was developed in close consultation with Islington Council over two years, expresses the individuality of its stakeholders in a varied but unified contemporary terrace, which repairs the formal streetscape of what had become a forgotten back street.

The three partner groups were led by Jake Edgley (director of Edgley Design), Chris Joannou (CKS partnership) and James Engel (director of Spaced Out Ltd). Edgley Design was the lead architect of the scheme, working closely with Spaced Out Ltd in the development of the concept and strategy for the scheme.

The overall concept was to re-imagine the Georgian houses that once occupied the site, with a lightwell to the front and internal stair to one side. A rear lightwell creates a liveable basement. Large glazed windows to the ground floor enliven a once forgotten backstreet. The layout has been inverted, with bedrooms to the lower levels where a more closed relationship to the street does not affect internal amenity.

The living spaces are moved to the upper floors, where larger windows can give light and views out without compromising privacy. The living spaces are articulated as a metal clad, sculptural form that has been folded out of the front elevation to create windows and views to the south, maintaining privacy across the street. An angled roof creates north facing rooflights to the second floor. The faceted form of the roof is derived from a rights to light analysis of neighbouring residences.

Five mixed use buildings are created, with commercial space to ground and basement and residential apartments above, and a townhouse to the north.

The lower commercial levels are conceived as raw, rectilinear and solid forms rising from the basement formed in visual concrete, to create pedestals to the more delicate residential spaces above. These commercial units are stripped back to bare essentials, their space articulated by exposed structure and raw ply stairs.

The basement buttresses are left exposed, with the original Victorian brick retaining walls giving a legible and in places archaeological character to the external lightwells and courtyards.

The more dynamic residential forms above are built from a lightweight timber stud and glulam frame. This allowed the contractor to adjust these complex forms on site, and for cantilevers to be built without steel, avoiding thermal bridging. The timber frame is wrapped in prepatinated zinc in six different colours with varying orientation, to articulate the different ownerships of the scheme.

The large glazed windows to the rear elevation have a metal solar mesh interlayer. This has been mounted upside down, so that the mesh reduces visibility looking down to preserve privacy to neighbours gardens while allowing an internal view of the sky.

Initially the JV partners used direct trades to underpin, prop and excavate the site. This reduced risk in the main contract, and also enabled the JV to control the noise and disruption of phase. The site was then handed to Cape Construction Ltd as a JCT IFC with contractors design portion for M&E, with Edgley Design as Contract Administrators. With close collaboration a high quality product was delivered for a rise of approx 2.5% in costs over the original £1.835m contract.

The project has been awarded an RIBA London Award and will now be eligible for a RIBA National Award, announced in June.

The RIBA London jurors commented “The scheme has a pleasing economy of scale. The façades are strong additions but do not dominate. The street feels friendly and the buildings approachable; the design’s undeniable success lies in its creative combination of modernity and warmth.” 

Structural Engineer: Hardman Structural Engineers Environmental/ Code for Sustainable Homes Consultant: SRE  
Building Control Approved Inspector: BBS P
Acoustic Engineer: KP Acoustics  
Fire Strategy Engineer: IFC  
CDM Coordinator: Goddard ConsultingC

Main Contractor: Cape Construction  

Basement Waterproofing: Wing Waterproofing
Glazing: Saper Glass
Zinc Cladding and Roofing: All Metal Roofing
Stair, Handrail and Guarding Metalwork: On Site Services
Forbo Linoleum: Deco Floors  

Sliding Doors: Velfac  
Front Doors: Pendle Doors
Opening Panels: Gowercroft Joinery
Aluminium Fascias/copings: Baileys Aluminum  
Heating: Nu-Heat
Oak Flooring: Peak Oak  
Carpet: Belvedere Carpets  
Tiles: Royal Mosa  
Zinc Cladding and Roofing: VM Zinc
Cementitious Cladding: Marley Eternit
Project Architect: Ben Kirk/ Edgley Design Godson Street Collaborators