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Eco-Lever Apartments



Eco-Lever Apartments

On a site in Camden in north London, Paul McAneary Architects was commissioned to design a new development that could function as either apartments or offices. Bounded by a train track, public park, garage and road, the compact footprint of the site was extremely constrained. Overlooking a busy railway line, it was also subject to noise pollution from passing high-speed trains and the impact of solar gain.

The project encompassed a succession of iterations. Originally it was conceived as an office development, generating a particular visual language of a sleek, double-layered glass skin and generic, sub-divisable floor plates. This initial design was aimed at maximising the size of floor plates through a sharply angular profile dramatically cantilevering out over the railway line. It was subsequently reworked as a residential development, reflected in a cellular plan form without the cantilevered element and a more modelled facade treatment.

Ultimately, after this process of exploration, it was decided to develop an iteration that would be capable of accommodating both commercial and residential use, thus optimising flexibility and sustainability for the client. The brief originally stipulated a total of five flats but through judicious planning, a total of eight apartments is integrated within the five storey block. The cantilevered element is also reprised, creating a bold new landmark for the locale.

The empty site is currently used as a car park, a function which is maintained in the final design with the addition of parking space to the rear of the site. An unusual dual facade creates a visually striking and ecologically-responsive solution to the problem of solar gain and noise pollution. Specially designed insulated cladding panels faced with reconstituted stone provide a foil to sleek mirrored glazing on the inclined facade over the train tracks. The cantilevered structure combined with the building’s advanced energy-saving credentials generates the concept of ‘Eco-Lever’.

Though the site was one of the most restrictive Paul McAneary Architects has worked on, its constraints have been overcome and even turned to advantage. The surrounding community, including existing garden users, the local school and neighbouring businesses, was consulted about the scope of the development. As a result of their feedback, a living green wall is integrated around the base of the building where it meets the public garden, enhancing and enlivening the space for users. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value £5M
Location Camden, London
Client HM Developments
Date 2013-2018
Area 1,476.8m²
DesignTeam Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, structural design, 3D visualisation

Turners Hill


Turners Hill

Ingeniously exploiting cramped site conditions, this major residential development in Cheshunt, a commuter town to the north of London, consists of two three-storey blocks of flats.Their crisply faceted forms contain 11 units and 7 units respectively. As the site occupies a former car park, the planners originally stipulated that parking should be included at basement level.

However this proved too costly, and Paul McAneary Architects successfully negotiated with the planners that it could be accommodated elsewhere. Overlooking by neighbours, another potentially contentious issue, was solved by the simple expedient of a strategically-placed green screen of planting.

Intended for the private sector but priced affordably, flats are open-plan and economically planned. Characterised by cut-outs and cantilevers, each of the blocks resemble a Chinese puzzle box, fitting together with elegant precision. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value Private
Location Cheshunt, London
Client Private
Date 2017
Area m2
Design TeamPaul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, landscape design, survey, building control, 3D visualisation

Post-Aircon House


Post-Aircon House

This new build apartment block in London’s Notting Hill explores the principles of passive, environmentally conscious design. In particular, it demonstrates how large brick buildings can be naturally ventilated instead of employing energy-profligate air conditioning.

The design of the facade incorporates specially devised ventilator panels to encourage air circulation through the interior of each flat without compromising either security or experiential and acoustic privacy.

Paul McAneary Architects carried out extensive research in order to convince both the client and the planning authority that the proposed system was feasible, generating commensurate savings on energy costs and acting as a paradigm for a new form of responsive, energy conscious design in an urban residential context. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value Private
Location Notting Hill, London
Client Private Developer
Date 2016
Area 627.85m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, landscape design, structural design, survey, planning, 3D visualisation

Blackhorse Tower

Blackhorse Tower

As a means of delivering high density residential accommodation allied to a mixture of uses on a peripheral brownfield site, Blackhorse Tower is emblematic of the development challenges currently confronting London. Located at Blackhorse Road station in Walthamstow, the site lies at the northern end of the Victoria line where it meets the overground. Its proximity to tube and rail stations presented a considerable design and structural engineering challenge in terms of situating and anchoring foundations. As result, the building footprint of snakes across the site to avoid impinging on the underground lines.

A quartet of 30 storey point blocks are connected by open lift shafts to minimise overshadowing of neighbouring buildings. Duplex apartments are efficiently planned to optimise natural light and views out over the surrounding reservoirs. The intermediate storeys of the development contain a hotel and spa, with parking and retail units at ground floor level to animate the public realm. A dual cantilevered swimming pool, believed to be the world’s first, forms a bravura set piece element poised between blocks.

Taking advantage of scale and repetition, the blocks employ modular forms of construction to cut building times. Ventilation panels set in the crisply geometric facades encourage natural ventilation and so reduce energy use. As the tower straddles the tube station a new exit will provide direct access to it, consolidating a quick and easy connection with central London. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value £71M
Location Walthamstow, London
Client HM Developments
Date 2017
Area 14,000 m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service Architects for the feasibility study for this plot working with planning authority and politicians establishing the height potential of this site.

Kazakhstan Housing



Kazakhstan Housing

Oil rich Kazakhstan is capitalising on its wealth to engage in ambitious programmes of architecture and infrastructure. For foreign architects working in this rapidly developing country the challenge is to produce work that can act as an exemplar to uplift local standards of design and construction. The other challenge is the climate: Astana, the Kazakh capital, experiences temperature extremes of -40C° in winter rising to 30C° in summer.

Paul McAneary Architects were commissioned to design a luxury apartment in a new build block for a couple working in the oil industry. The arrangement and proportion of rooms reflects their love of entertaining and their elite status within Astana’s social milieu. A large entrance hallway with an aquarium greets visitors, with a decompression zone for removing coats and boots, essential in the winter. The main living room contains a large area for formal dining and a video viewing space. A sculpture defines the axis through the apartment. Sliding doors can be used partition off spaces, or be left open to create a more open plan atmosphere.

A secondary dining room for more informal gatherings has an intimate niche for coffee drinking furnished with padded window seats. A fully equipped back-of-house kitchen services both dining rooms. All of the three large bedrooms are en-suite. The master bedroom contains generous walk-in wardrobes and a home office, while the guest bedroom connects with a small open balcony. Materials and detailing have a signature finesse. White walls and white oiled floorboards anchor a polished, minimal palette. To achieve the require standard of detailing and finishes, the project required intensive supervision and management during the construction phase, a feat made more complex by geographical distance and cultural differences. However, the experience paid off and has expanded Paul McAneary Architects skill set, showing how the practice is able to deliver a complex residential interior for a discerning client at some remove from its usual sphere of operations. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value Private
Location Kazakhstan
Client Private
Date 2013
Area m2
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, landscape design, survey, building control, 3D visualisation

African Nearly Zero Housing



African Nearly Zero Housing

In the Nigerian capital Abuja, Paul McAneary Architects were commissioned to design three different housing types: a single house, block of flats and a terrace. The aim is to make use of abundant but disregarded materials, such as stone and tropical hardwood, and cultivate a strategy of passive environmental control and ‘near zero’ energy use.

Residential development in Nigeria is characterised by a dependence on inappropriate and wasteful models more suited to a temperate European climate. By responding more thoughtfully to context and climate, this radical project reconceptualises the existing approach to housing provision in a way that could act as a prototype for future development across Nigeria.

Quarried stone, which would more usually be used in road building, is caged in steel gabions to form massive external walls. Tropical hardwood, traditionally used to make concrete formwork and then discarded, is salvaged to make external elements, such as window frames. Boreholes provide a natural source of water, which also helps to cool the interior, while hot air is dispelled through the stack effect, rising through the central atrium of each dwelling.

These natural means of ventilation and cooling sever the reliance on energy-wasteful air conditioning. Communal solar power plants provide energy, supplanting profligate diesel generators. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value Undisclosed
Location Abuja, Nigeria, Africa
Client Undisclosed
Date Current
Area Undisclosed
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design, interior design, landscape design, structural design, 3D visualisation