This 1960s Modernist maisonette in Highgate was the last of its kind in London
- Credit: The National Archives
A swinging 1960s maisonette refurbished by Herzog & de Meuron and Zaha Hadid Architects is on the market for just £850k
London is swinging. The Beatles have topped the US billboard chart with ‘I want to hold your hand’, Twiggy is ‘the face of 66’ and England have won the World Cup. Carnaby Street is the height of fashion, the Kray Twins charm and hustle their way through the underworld, the mini is the icon of the city, and the miniskirt clads its most liberated young women waiting to be swept off their feet by Michael Cane’s Alfie.
Modernism was in its last throes, soon to be toppled by the bold and unashamed Brutalism best demonstrated in the Barbican, which began work in 1965 coinciding with the death of the founder of Modernism, Le Corbusier. Just one year earlier, work began on Highgate Spinney, one of the last residential buildings of its kind.
Designed by John Howard and Bruce Rotherham, the development encompassed 30 apartments created in traditional mid-century modern style. Once home to Victorian houses, the 1.3 acre site was built with families in mind on a linear design inkeeping with the period terraces traditional to the area. Howard had built a home for himself in Camden, which was previously sold by the Modern House.
In true Modernist style, an analytical approach was taken to the building, which has a reinforced concrete frame cloaked in red brick in keeping with the tones of the surrounding area. Six studio apartments fill the middle tier of the block, wrapped around by 12 maisonettes. Cantilevered balconies look over the gallery of the five storey building.
The two bedroom maisonette itself is located on the upper floors of the Modernist gem, which has been refurbished by architects Gemma Douglas of Herzog & de Meuron and Jim Heverin of Zaha Hadid Architects. Whilst retaining the original features of the property, the designers have added double glazed windows, electric heaters and underfloor heating.
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The home is entered via a walkway on the first floor, and upon entry occupants can hang their coats in the storage unit. An open-tread staircase leads up to the split-level living space, flooded with natural light by way of dual aspect windows. A large reception room offers views of the trees outside and a newly renovated kitchen and dining room clad in clean whites, sleek lines and marble leads out onto a terrace. On the third floor, two double bedrooms and a bathroom are found, alongside an additional terrace.
Modernism is echoed throughout the home by way of open plan spaces, cubic shapes and monochromatic, minimalist interiors abstracted from the trappings of ornament. Natural light is provided for by way of large windows that allow light to bounce off the crisp, cool hues of the maisonette accented by the mulled greys of the drapes and furniture.
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Highgate Spinney is found on the Highgate side of Crouch End on a tree lined street a short walk from Highgate Underground station and the many bus and rail links of the area. Families in particular will note Coolhurst tennis club is just a short walk from the home, with the highly regarded Coleridge Primary School located close by. The green spaces of Alexandra Park, Finsbury Park and Highgate Wood and Queen’s Wood are not far away. The property also benefits from an off street parking space.
So turn the radio to your favourite off shore pirate station as you lounge in Highgate Spinney’s spacious maisonette and hum along to the devil-may-care lyrics of your favourite British invasion record. Lie back in the smiling company of Andy Warhol’s eclectic pop art to take your mind off the burgeoning Cold War that might turn hot at any time, and soak up the aura of Swinging London in a maisonette that stands as a testament to its memory.