How can we build more homes in the centre of historic cities without the negative impacts usually associated with high-density?
When designing Abell & Cleland, we did not realise how innovative our approach to density would be. In the attempt to devise the best solution for the site, we carried out in-depth research into housing typologies, this led us to adopt the courtyard model in conjunction with gardens and generous lobbies. 

With its exceptional density of 319 dwellings per hectare, Abell & Cleland’s pair of high-density/low-rise residential buildings provide a model for the sustainable densification of the city.

The clever arrangement of amenity spaces around which the scheme is planned, beautifully designed facades and elegant landscaping allowed us to successfully balance density and delight, delivering well lit flats whilst avoiding oppressive sense of over development typically associated with the high-rise tower block typology.

In terms of site usage, these mid-rise buildings are more than twice as dense as Erno Goldfinger’s lofty Trellick Tower, built in north Kensington in 1972. Furthermore, if Trellick Tower was to achieve the same level of density as Abell and Cleland, it would need to be 66 storeys high, well over twice its current height.

“Achieving high density is often tricky, but doing it in a historic area only yards from the Westminster Unesco World Heritage Site and directly opposite the high-security MI5 headquarters – one of the most sensitive sites in the country – makes the attempt even more challenging.”
Ike Ijeh, BD, March 2018 

Photography: Luca Miserocchi

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