163 Iverson Road – still waiting to start the build

The proposal to redevelop the garden centre site on Iverson Road into flats was given the green light back in the early summer but for some reason I never actually wrote about it.

I did discuss the plans back in January, after they had been watered down slightly from an initially very ambitious “aeroplane wing” style development.

The block will, when complete, consist of 33 flat and 3 houses. Even with the revisions, it’s not to everyone’s taste. The architects though are (naturally enough) proud of their response to what is a slightly unusually shaped site.

“Dexter Moren Associates have responded to this challenging Y-shaped site by creating two distinctive architectural treatments for the front and rear of the scheme. The southern wing adjacent to the railway tracks is raised on stilts to create a series of ‘tree houses’ and to distance the apartments from the trains. This allows the greenery from the embankment to flow under, into the heart of the development. The ‘tree houses’ are topped with a folded wing shaped metal roof that acts as a protective skin from the trains and creates a striking and dynamic roof form. The main frontage along Iverson Road is designed to respond to the streetscape with boxed balconies, roof terraces and a living green wall.”

It will also be very handy for the farmers’ market.

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  • It does seem a shame that a lot of innovative and exciting design in the area is “watered down” to satisfy some instinctive desire to oppose “change”.

    If we are going to have new buildings in the area (which certainly seems inevitable), the people have to realise that architecture has moved on. Building techniques have changed as have materials and possibilities.

    Just walk through the city or central London and gasp and the amazing architecture that is going up. Lets have some of that here rather than fighting against it and ending up with compromises that are just plain boring and bland.

    I am sure that very few of us are living in homes with their interiors as they were even 10 years ago let alone 100! Why does this not apply to the exteriors too?

    • I think in this case that the watering down was largely due to budget constraints on the developers’ part. Camden actually praised the original design and although it divided opinion among locals, I think it could still have gone ahead.

      I agree that modern architecture shouldn’t be automatically dismissed, however I also think that good architecture is sympathetic to its site – West Hampstead is not central London and has a completely different aesthetic. This doesn’t mean there can’t be imaginative and creative solutions to new buildings.

      In addition, as happened here, exciting architecture often comes at a price that developers may be loathe to take on at the moment, and would mean them passing the cost on to the building’s eventual owners. In the case of residential properties this could just serve to push prices even higher. If anything, it is buildings at the cheaper end of the market that may require the most creative architectural solutions and should be looked at more favourably by planners and residents alike.

  • James B

    The aesthetics, height and design of "The Mill Apartments" on Mill Lane is the model that should be used for all future developments in West Hampstead. Stunning!