Kentish Town architect shortlisted for top prize

Ely Court is the only British project in the final five shortlisted for the European Union Prize for

Ely Court is the only British project in the final five shortlisted for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture 2017 - Credit: Archant

A north London regeneration project has been shortlisted for the prestigious Mies van der Rohe Award

A north London housing scheme by architect Alison Brooks, whose practice is on Highgate Road, has been shortlisted for the prestigious Mies van der Rohe Award.

Ely Court in South Kilburn is the only British project of the five shortlisted nominees.

On her nomination, Ms Brooks said;

“I’m absolutely surprised and delighted that our regeneration project in South Kilburn made the final shortlist. The shortlisting of Ely Court proves that the design of housing can be as significant, socially and culturally, as museums and civic buildings, and can compete with the finest of Europe’s contemporary architecture.”

Ely Court has been designed as part of a regeneration programme for the South Kilburn Estate.

The new design provides 44 residential dwellings, 40 per cent of which are made available to existing social tenants in the area. The aim is to reintegrate the Estate into the wider local community. Brent Council was heavily involved in the project.

“Ely Court also reveals the importance of an enlightened local authority client, Brent Council,” Ms Brooks said. “They have acted as long term stewards of South Kilburn’s ambitious but sensitive estate regeneration programme. Along with Catalyst Housing they committed to a design that lifts ordinary housing to a new standard of generosity, material quality, and community integration.”

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The scheme will replace existing 1960s low-quality building stock with mixed tenure housing that replicates the layout of the traditional 19th Century London suburb, and represents the diversity of modern communities.

The project consists of four different building types and features floor-to-ceiling windows, French doors and Juliette balconies. A formerly underused green space will be regenerated into a public garden square in front of Canterbury Court.

The total cost of the local authority led scheme was £13.75 million, and the income from the sale of the private homes has been used to cross-subsidise the affordable housing.

The Biennial European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture awards €60,000 to the best building completed by a European architect, and is named after the renowned German-American architect Mies van der Rohe.

On the success of the project, Ms Brooks said;

“The nomination is a great testament to the skill of my team at ABA and our consultant collaborators who all contributed to this project’s success.”

Ms Brooks will discover whether she has beaten 40 other projects including a 12th Century church renovation in Ribe, Denmark and a similar housing block in Amsterdam, to win the award in a ceremony held at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona this May.

Alison Brooks Architects

53–79 Highgate Road, NW5

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