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Modernist mecca: 7 north London homes for lovers of post-war architecture

PUBLISHED: 16:00 19 May 2017 | UPDATED: 17:13 19 May 2017

The low-rise, high-density design of the Alexandra Road Estate stood out in an era of high-rise social housing

The low-rise, high-density design of the Alexandra Road Estate stood out in an era of high-rise social housing

Simon Phipps

From the Alexandra Road Estate to the Isokon building, here are seven properties for sale in north London’s most iconic Modernist buildings

Isokon Building, £535,000, SavillsIsokon Building, £535,000, Savills

North London is a mecca for Modernist properties. From the Highpoint I to the Isokon Building, Hampstead and Highgate are home to some of the post-war style’s best examples of the architecture nurtured by the likes of Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius.

Traditionally, Modernism is typified by an emphasis on rugged use of concrete slabs, clean cubic shapes and lack of ornamentation. It came to fruition in the post-war period but was adopted from as far back as the 1920s as the go-to style of choice on the continent.

From 1950, it developed into a more severe form in Brutalism in response to the perceived frivolity of the post-war architectural choices of town planners.

Alexandra & Ainsworth Estate (Rowley Way) in South HampsteadAlexandra & Ainsworth Estate (Rowley Way) in South Hampstead

Luckily for north London residents, there’s plenty of the trend on the map in Hampstead and Highgate.

So whether you’re househunting for a one bed, two bed or a family home, seeking a slice of history or simply window shopping, here is a selection of the many Modernist marvels on the market now in Hampstead and Highgate.

Southwood Park, £950,000, Goldschmidt & HowlandSouthwood Park, £950,000, Goldschmidt & Howland

Isokon Building

The Grade I listed Isokon Building was designed by Wells Coates in 1934 as a minimalist example of traditional Modernism. A number of famous residents have lived in the apartments, including Jack Pritchard for whom the building was designed. The furniture designer whose work resides in the V&A lived in the penthouse flat, but other residents included novelist Agatha Christie and cold war spy recruiter and NKVD agent Dr Arnold Deutsch. European émigrés of the Bahaus style of architecture like Walter Gropius and Moholy-Nagy also lived in the building which became a hub of north London intellectual society. In 1937 the communal kitchen became the Isobar restaurant, which served famous faces such as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

The property: a third floor studio apartment for £535,000 with Savills

The Isokon building on Lawn Road, Hampstead NW3The Isokon building on Lawn Road, Hampstead NW3

Rowley Way, St John’s Wood

The Alexandra Road Estate, or Rowley Way was designed in 1968 in the Brutalist style by Neave Brown. The St John’s Wood estate was finally completed 10 years later to house 520 apartments alongside a school, community facilities and park. In traditional Modernist form, the materials chosen are reinforced board-marked concrete. The properties feature balconies and terraces and are arranged as terraces astride the erroneously named Rowley Way. The estate has made numerous appearances in film and television, including Prime Suspect, 28 Days Later and most recently in Kingsman: The Secret Service.

The property: a one bed refurbishment opportunity for £345,000 with Cedar Estates.

Rowley Way, £345,000 with Cedar EstatesRowley Way, £345,000 with Cedar Estates

Oak Hill Park Mews, Hampstead

A Modernist apartment designed by Michael Lyell Associates in 1962, this property is located in Oak Hill Park Mews. Comprised of eight houses arranged around the communal gardens typical to Modernist developments, the site was developed for Elsworthy Ltd on a site that was once home to Victorian villas. As in the Modernist style, the exterior features an asymmetrical pattern of large windows and an unusual slate cladding. Inside, the home features a traditional open-tread staircase to match the open plan layout and is decorated in the kitchen with stained wood and yellow cabinets.

The property: a three bedroom refurbishment property with Benham & Reeves for £2,095,000

Oak Hill Park Mews, £2,095,000, Benham & ReevesOak Hill Park Mews, £2,095,000, Benham & Reeves

Southwood Park, Highgate

This Highgate Village block located just off Southwood Lane was built between 1963-5 and was previously home to the house and grounds of Sotuhwood Court. The court was built in 1882 and was demolished in 1932. Like other Modernist constructions, the tower block benefits from a communal garden, and unlike many others comes with a heated outdoor swimming pool. For that luxury feel, there is also a lift and on-site porter. Open plan interiors are combined with an outdoor terrace and fully fitted kitchen and wardrobes. In traditional pattern, the exterior façade of the building is peppered with large windows and white concrete slabs.

The property: an upper floor two bedroom flat for £950,000 with Goldschmidt & Howland

Southwood Park, £950,000, Goldschmidt & HowlandSouthwood Park, £950,000, Goldschmidt & Howland

Silsoe House, Camden Town

Silsoe House is a descendent of Modernism in the Brutalist design and is home to 175 residents. With rhythmically arranged bands of large windows arranged in a linear pattern between the red brick layers and interspersed with balconies and buttresses, the property is typical of Brutalist style with its imposing façade and severity.

The property: a one bed apartment for £599,950 with Sandfords

Silsoe House, £599,950, SandfordsSilsoe House, £599,950, Sandfords

Straffan Lodge, Belsize Grove

Straffan Lodge is one of the more symmetrically designed post-Modernist properties in NW3, with highly organised rhythmic patterns of windows arranged along the façade of the building. The property has a communal garden and features a modern pull down bed.

The property: a third floor studio apartment for £475,000 with Stones

Straffan Lodge, �475,000, Stones ResidentialStraffan Lodge, �475,000, Stones Residential

Chalcot Lodge, Belsize Park

The property is made up of 12 units and has large, floor to ceiling windows arranged in vertical bands along the front façade of the white concrete clad building with black bands. Renovations to the exterior are expected to be carried out in Summer 2017.

The property: a one bed apartment on the top floor for £550,000 with Benham & Reeves

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