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Bell Phillips wins go-ahead for council homes in Westminster

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Bell Phillips Architects has won approval to build 51 homes for Westminster City Council in the Marylebone’s Lisson Grove conservation area

The 5,135m² scheme, with its ‘scalloped brick façades’, will replace two redundant buildings in Cosway Street and Ashmill Street – one a former college building, the other a former office.

According to the firm, the design for the 49 flats and two family-sized terraced houses was ‘inspired by the legacy of the surrounding late Victorian and Georgian architecture’.

The project on a 0.26ha site will reinstate the Cosway Street frontage with a façade which ‘reflects the rhythms and proportions of the surrounding streets in a design that is contemporary yet rooted within its context’.

Iain Savill, senior development manager at project backer Westminster City Council, said the development was ‘set in a sensitive and high-profile location’ and had ‘provided its challenges to the design team’.

He added: ‘[The] architects worked closely with the client, multiple stakeholders and the local community to deliver an outstanding design that will make a meaningful contribution to the Lisson Grove conservation area.’

A future timescale is not yet known.

The architect’s view

Sat between Edgware Road and Marylebone tube stations, and just a short walk from Regent’s Park and Hyde Park, the site itself is rectangular in form measuring 62m x 36m with an area of 0.26ha. The site currently comprises two disused and dilapidated post-war buildings – one a former office, the other an ex-college. Both have been identified as having a negative impact on the character and appearance of its surroundings: the Lisson Grove conservation area.

The project will generate 49 generously spaced one, two and three bed residential dwellings in a maximum of four storeys in a three-sided perimeter block (A, B and C), complete with a central communal garden. Two family-sized terraced houses are further included within the development on Ashmill Street.

The detailed elevation design of Block A (Bell Street) has been developed primarily to complement the character of Christ Church through materiality, scale and proportion of detail. The width of each window and flute is similar to the spacing between each of Christ Church’s large arched windows, further mirroring the civic scale of the church. Stone cornice lines, window lintels and sills further allow the design to resonate with its neighbouring listed building.

Block B (Cosway Street) builds upon the language defined in Block A, all while drawing on the materiality, scale and proportion of the opposite mansion blocks’ detail characteristics. The width of the flute is smaller in this block, in order to relate more closely to the domestic scale of the mansion block. The overall window spacing, size and proportion are equally reflective of the mansion block typology, with a subtle material palette comprising a pale London Stock brick with reconstituted stone lintels, sills and cornice. The communal entrance – including concierge service – features a decorative fine fluted reconstituted stone surround and wider overall flute that aligns with the private balconies above; thus creating natural breaks in the rhythm of the façade.

Bells phillips detail material 2

Bells phillips detail material 2

The detailed design of Block C (Shroton Street) mirrors the materiality, scale and proportion of the terraced housing along its shared street, alongside drawing on the finer detail of the arts and crafts buildings nearby, such as pilasters and paired windows.

A basement is accessed here at street level by two car lifts and consists of 38 car parking spaces, including 5 wheelchair accessible spaces, and cycle storage. One refuse store is located within each core, fed from above by refuse chutes. Where possible, plant rooms have been located in the basement to maximise active frontage on the ground floor.

A green bio-diverse roof complements the scheme’s design and incorporates photovoltaics, all part of a sustainable approach that identifies and maximises opportunities for improving the building’s energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions and optimising the visual and thermal comfort for the occupants.

Project data

Client Westminster City Council
Architect Bell Phillips Architects
Planning consultant Peter Brett Associates
Structural, civil and MEP engineers Peter Brett Associates
Ecology consultant Peter Brett Associates
Landscape architect Anna French Associates
Daylight/sunlight consultant Gordon Ingram Associates
Heritage consultant MOLA
GIA 5,135m²
Start date To be confirmed

Floor plans

Floor plans

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