A game of two halves

Tuesday 15 Dec 2009

Allies and Morrison first to convert football stadium for residential use

Built on what was once home to Arsenal Football Club, Highbury Square is the first conversion of a former football stadium for residential use. Designed by Allies and Morrison, the urban infill creates a contemporary London square, while preserving the original stadium.

A fundamental feature is the conversion of the existing East and West Stands. The East Stand was built in 1936 to a design by CW Ferrier & Major William Binnie and is Art Deco in style. The West Stand was built to a more utilitarian design by CW Ferrier.

The East Stand is Grade II Listed and while its counterpart to the west is not, their similarity merited the retention of both, to achieve a balanced composition of new and existing buildings, successfully framing the former football pitch, now a large central garden. The four metre structural grid of the two stands is utilised as a planning grid, offering apartment plans that include generous double-height spaces overlooking the former pitch.

By the same plan, the simple rectilinear space of the garden has been abstracted into a complex grid of planting and water features, designed in conjunction with Christopher Bradley-Hole. Wild grasses and hedgerows are set out on a tartan grid, punctuated by decorative features of glass-encased, illuminated waterwalls. A new public route also passes through the garden. Accessed through generous entrance portals, the north and south blocks form a series of six garden courts.

Laura Paton

Key Facts:

Residential Urban design
United Kingdom

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