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Emrys completes 'sunken' student digs in north London

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Emrys Architects has taken the wraps of this £2million student housing scheme in Tufnell Park, north London


The project provides eight self-contained one bedroom duplex units alongside a set of reworked and refurbished apartments in an neighbouring Edwardian mansion

The new building replaces a 1950s brick building that once stood in the garden of the house and was conceived as a ‘timber planter’ sunken into the ground.

The building is surrounded by wildflower planting and topped with a green roof to integrate it into the landscape. On the first floor, to prevent overlooking, angled cor-ten screens with lacerated patterns inspired by long meadow grass were installed.

‘A sensitive approach was taken to the massing of the new building to ensure it had a good relationship with the main house and gardens and would not be overbearing to neighbouring gardens,’ says Glyn Emrys, director of Emrys Architects.

The new units are 30m² each and provide a space for post-graduate students to live and study. The architects specified furniture that would work well within the restricted space and compliment the colour scheme and hardwood floors.

Anson Road by Emrys Architects

Anson Road by Emrys Architects

Architect’s view

‘We had to increase the number of flats whilst ensuring they were pleasant places to live and study within the compact area. We achieved this by building in all the joinery and utilising every available space - the kitchen has been built into the stair and there are built in desks and storage in the living room and the bedroom.

‘The new building is sunken into the ground in order to achieve the desired massing, creating a landscaped bowl around the site. Wildflower meadow planting was used for the banks as it is low maintenance and creates a consistent carpet of planting around the building.

‘All the external finishes were considered as contributing to the natural feel of the back garden. The idea for the cladding was to have a dark plinth and a light top. Dark grey Swedish Falun paint was chosen as the finish of the cladding wrapping around the ground floor as it has a very natural look and is low maintenance. The upper storey is clad in untreated Sweet Chestnut which will fade and weather naturally over time.

Catriona Jones, project architect


Anson Road by Emrys Architects

Anson Road by Emrys Architects

Site plan

Project data

Architect Emrys
Location Tufnell Park, North London
Type of project student housing
Client Zebra Housing Association
Funding Zebra Housing Association
Tender date October 2013
Start on site date January 2014
Gross internal floor area 262m² (new build only)
Total cost £2 million
Structural engineer Heyne Tillett Steel
M&E consultant SGA Consulting
Quantity surveyor Pierce Hill

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