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Moore Street by Richard Murphy Architects

More Homes, Better Homes: The AJ presents twelve exemplar housing schemes

Our first project for Molendinar Park Housing Association was the renovation and partial demolition of the Meat Market traders’ hotel on the Gallowgate site in Glasgow.

This combined the external staircase with the idea of the private but communal courtyard, where entry is controlled at the gate. Eight years later, we adopted the courtyard type for our masterplan for the site next door at Moore Street (AJ 27.11.08).

Each of the four architects working on the project - Page\Park, Elder & Cannon, JM Architects and ourselves - was given the private courtyard as a model, but in our own contribution we combined it with external staircases. In this instance the two main staircases quarry into the body of the flats on a 45 degree axis, creating a series of terraces and seats outside individual front doors, culminating in lantern living rooms on the top floor. Other staircases on the front elevation lead to upside-down maisonettes and cantilever out, passively supervising the central, organising courtyard. As a consequence, a great variety of apartments are generated as plans change significantly at each floor. Also, the journey up develops as a promenade, and is not just a tiresome repetition.

Richard Murphy, director, Richard Murphy Architects

Recommendation: Donnybrook Quarter, Hackney, London by Peter Barber Architects


I was first intrigued by this project (AJ 31.08.06) when I saw it at the Royal Academy and the reality has fulfilled the promise. This is a very clever design which, while building at high density, gives every apartment privacy, private external space, and at the same time makes a delightful, car-free pedestrian street, well supervised by all the residents.

Unlike in our projects, the staircases are more private but the logic of placing a maisonette on top of a flat makes for a very generous roof terrace that also acts as the entrance to these apartments. The surrounding area of undistinguished, mostly post-war housing now has this almost Aegean village as a landmark at its crossroads.

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