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HASA gets go-ahead for Hampstead sustainability hub

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London-based HASA Architects has won approval to transform a run-down site in Highgate, north London, into an education and sustainability hub

The practice, which is headed by Charlotte Harris and Mark Stevens, said the 438m² scheme would extend the facilities and programme for the neighbouring Omved Gardens ecology and food initative, which is housed in an award-winning retrofit of derelict greenhouses by the same architects.

Featuring five new single-storey buildings, the Contractors Yard proposals will be used for exhibitions, cooking workshops, performances and ’creating collaborations around the topics of food, creativity and ecological transformation’.

A spokesperson for HASA Architects said the new structures, which will replace a number of existing wooden chalets, would ’sit carefully within the site’s topography and respond sensitively to the surrounding landscape’.

They added: ’Our design response grew out of meticulous research into agricultural architecture, particularly the study of the farmstead in the landscape.

’This, coupled with our relationship with Omved Gardens and understanding of the local community’s ambitions for the area, led to a series of flexible buildings that allow a constantly evolving spatial narrative.’

Work is expected to start on site later this year. 

Site plans: The proposed five-building Contractors Yard scheme (left) and the earlier Omved Garden glasshouse retrofit scheme (right

Site plans: The proposed five-building Contractors Yard scheme (left) and the earlier Omved Garden glasshouse retrofit scheme (right)

Site plans: The proposed five-building Contractors Yard scheme (left) and the earlier Omved Garden glasshouse retrofit scheme (right

Architect’s view

Hasa architects contractors yard commercial newbuild london image13 internalview

Hasa architects contractors yard commercial newbuild london image13 internalview

Internal view

Development on the site, formerly a garden landscaping business, had been fiercely opposed, with multiple applications refused from 1970 to 2012. However, our understanding of the place, continued relationship with the site’s landscape architect, and ongoing engagement with the local community gave them an insight few other [proposals] had.

The practice secured planning and their proposals for transforming the site into a dynamic new learning environment with five new buildings were well received by the local authority.

The large and small scale structures form an ensemble of buildings that draw visitors across the carefully landscaped site.

The large buildings are home to seminar space and a cookhouse, providing workshops around sustainable food production, including events and initiatives with the World Food Programme and The Chefs’ Manifesto.

These events aim to engage the public and other key stakeholders by bringing these programmes to a wider audience.

Project data

Location Townsend Yard, Highgate, London N6
Type of project Community/education, new training, community and event facilities
Client Omved Gardens
Local authority Haringey
Architect HASA Architects
Conservation architect Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture
Landscape architect Del Buono Gazerwitz Landscape Architecture
Structural engineer Structure Workshop
M&E consultant Mendick Waring
Quantity surveyor Duncan R Macleod Chartered Surveyors
Forge/workshop design Collective Works
Gross internal floor area 438.6m²
Total cost Undisclosed

Hasa architects contractors yard commercial newbuild london image17 existingphoto01

Hasa architects contractors yard commercial newbuild london image17 existingphoto01

Existing site photo

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Great to see the site not falling victim to the pressures that London property values seem to force onto any but the smallest pockets of land.

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