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Amin Taha wins go-ahead for Islington bomb site job

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Amin Taha Architects has won planning for the redevelopment of a site in Upper Street, Islington, which has lain empty since being bombed in World War II

The practice was selected for the £3.5 million project, backed by furniture retailer, Aria following an invited contest last year.

The scheme rebuilds the missing piece of the terrace which has sat incomplete since it was damaged by a bomb more than 70 years ago and will house a shop and flats.

The development, which was originally set to have a bronze gauze sheet skin, will feature cast walls creating a perimeter shell from its basement to the sixth-storey.

Work has begun on test the building’s innovative facade which will be rebuilt as a ‘monolithic terracotta monument to the past’. The prototype formwork has been created by robotic arms at the Bartlett School of Architecture workshop.

The scheme is set to start on site next year.

Amin Taha Architects' Barnsbury Street elevation

Amin Taha Architects’ Barnsbury Street elevation

The architect’s view

‘Our approach was to rebuild the missing piece of an otherwise intact symmetrical terrace but as a digitally measured and reconstructed monolithic terracotta monument to the past. Cast in situ with formwork routed from a 3-d model the detailing is mostly a 1:1 laser surveyed simulacrum of its symmetrical opposite with some areas allowed fall away as if slipped from our memory and others misremembered. As a whole the ‘casting’ forms a perimeter shell from basement through six floors with roof also cast of the same material.

‘Internally, dado rails, ceiling cornices, skirting boards and anaglyptic wall paper are all allowed to imprint a palimpsest of previous occupants. Neoclassical windows remain blind with only the new inhabitation, expressed by intermittent timber floor plates, cutting through the terracotta walls where needed.’

Previous story (AJ 14.11.14)

Amin Taha wins Islington bomb site job

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