Loudoun Road housing, shops and craft workshops, comprising north block (61-83 Loudoun Road, 1-8 Langtry Walk) and south block (49-59 Loudoun Road, 2-62 Alexandra Place).

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1428515
Date first listed:
11-Feb-2016
Location Description:
1-8 Langtry Walk, London, NW8 0DU, 2-62 Alexandra Place, London, NW8 0DY, 49-59 Loudoun Road, London, NW8 0DL, 61-83 Loudoun Road, London, NW8 0DQ

Map

Ordnance survey map of Loudoun Road housing, shops and craft workshops, comprising north block (61-83 Loudoun Road, 1-8 Langtry Walk) and south block (49-59 Loudoun Road, 2-62 Alexandra Place).
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
1-8 Langtry Walk, London, NW8 0DU, 2-62 Alexandra Place, London, NW8 0DY, 49-59 Loudoun Road, London, NW8 0DL, 61-83 Loudoun Road, London, NW8 0DQ
County:
Greater London Authority
District:
Camden (London Borough)
Parish:
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
TQ2636283963

Summary

Mixed-use complex including housing, shops and craft workshops; 1974-80, Tom Kay for the London Borough of Camden.

Reasons for Designation

Loudoun Road housing, shops and craft workshops, comprising north block (61-83 Loudoun Road, 1-8 Langtry Walk) and south block (49-59 Loudoun Road, 2-62 Alexandra Place), is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Planning interest: an innovative low-rise, mixed-use complex on a human scale, demonstrating clear affinities with contemporary Camden public housing; * Architectural quality: a distinctive and clearly-expressed design, combining an intricate stepped section, rugged brick textures and playful details such as porthole windows and ceramic door numbers.

History

This complex represents a later phase of the Alexandra Road Estate, the earlier stages of which were planned from 1968 by Neave Brown of the Camden’s Architect’s Department and built in 1972-78 (Grade II*). The scheme was amongst the most ambitious and the last of the comprehensive housing developments realised by local government under the 1957 Housing Act. Alongside the monumental terraces of housing, a range of community buildings were planned from the earliest stages, including the former Alexandra Priory special school and youth club (Grade II); a children’s reception centre and a home for young disabled adults by Eldred Evans and David Shalev, and the Loudoun Road scheme.

In the late 1960s Tom Kay was living in a Victorian terrace on the Loudoun Road redevelopment site and campaigned for Camden Council to provide alternative accommodation for tenants and local businesses. In time his role evolved from a tenants’ representative to a planning consultant and finally he was appointed by Camden to design the south block. A year later the site to the north was added to his brief. As the site stood at one of the principal entrances to Alexandra Road it was decided to add a shopping parade along Langtry Walk.

Tom Kay (1935-2007) was born in Palestine to Jewish parents and grew up in London and Montreal. After studying architecture at the Regent Street Polytechnic, he worked briefly for Erno Goldfinger and the LCC Architect’s Department. In 1959, he spent two years in Israel, designing the El Al building in Tel Aviv. After a period working for Austin-Smith, Kay established his own architectural practice in 1964, designing 23 Kensington Place, London (1966-67, Grade II) and a house for himself and his family in Murray Mews, Camden (1970-73, Grade II). With his wife Adah, Kay became engaged in the politics of public housing, helping to form Camden Housing Action and the Camden community law centres. Kay moved to Palestine to teach in 2001.

Details

Mixed-use complex including housing, shops and craft workshops; 1974-80, designed by Tom Kay for the London Borough of Camden.

MATERIALS / STRUCTURE: the structure comprises load-bearing cavity walls of metric brick with pre-cast concrete dressings. The floors and end walls are of reinforced concrete. The north block has rigid sheet roofs on steel beams; the south block has reinforced concrete columns and timber roofs. Windows are timber, those of the south block mostly replaced in uPVC* (the latter not of special interest).

PLAN: the 0.13ha complex comprises north and south blocks, bounded by Loudoun Road to the east, the retaining wall to the Euston–Watford railway cutting to the north and Alexandra Place to the south. The north block is a terrace with a stepped section. To the south is a shopping parade (1-8 Langtry Walk) with a pair of shopkeepers’ flats jettied over. At second-floor level and to the rear at first-floor level are two sets of stepped craft workshops (61-83 Loudoun Road), reached from external steps and newel fire escapes at both ends. A sunken service yard, entered from Loudoun Road, overlooks the railway cutting.

The larger south block is approximately square on plan and comprises 10 terraces of maisonettes and 16 split-level flats (2-62 Alexandra Place) stepping up to the east over workshop units (49-59 Loudoun Road, now converted to offices). The structures cover the entire footprint of this part of the site. The workshops have customer entrances to Loudoun Road and loading access from an internal access route which runs north-south through the building. All dwellings are accessed either direct from ground level or via a series of external staircases. External steps from Alexandra Place and between pairs of dwellings lead to terraces and an upper access deck.

EXTERIOR: the exteriors are clad in dark red metric bricks with raked pointing and deeply chamfered pre-cast concrete dressings to openings, projections and vents. Joinery and ductwork were originally painted rust red, now mostly over-painted; the windows of the south block have been replaced in uPVC* (not of special interest). Stairs and terraces are detailed in brick paviours in stack bond and the access deck of the south block is laid to square concrete paving slabs. The ‘key klamp’ stair handrails, of tubular steel with mesh panels, are similar in appearance to those on the Alexandra Road estate. House numbers are imprinted in bold lettering on glazed cream ceramic panels set into the brickwork.

The stepped and curved profile of the north block, and the stairs to the upper units are expressed on the end elevations, into which is also set porthole windows of various sizes. The curves in the roof profile and round windows are marked by pre-cast dressings which are curved on face and stepped on the other. The oversailing Langtry Walk elevation is progressively jettied out on chamfered concrete soffits. A colonnade of steel stanchions carries the first-floor flats and incorporates down lights. The shop units have been repainted and new fascias* and roller shutters* added (these alterations are not of special interest). Above is a continuous projecting window strip to the first floor flats, and the roof curves down to a projecting eaves set close above the second floor window strip. The jetties with their chamfered ‘bressumers’ and the detailing of the window mullion is comparable to the adjacent 9 Langtry Walk by Evans & Shalev.

The north elevations of the craft workshops are industrial in character, with north light glazing and curved profiled sheet roofing. The three bays to the service yard incorporate vent extracts arranged to suggest smiling, neutral and frowning faces. The shop and workshop units have flush doors with porthole windows, some of which have been replaced (replacements* not of special interest). Metal flues* have been added to the studios and surface cabling* to the service yard elevations; these additions are not of special interest.

The external steps of the south block are also prominently expressed on the end elevations, with the maisonettes stepping up behind them and groups of porthole windows lighting the workshop units below. The elevation to Loudoun Road incorporates steps down to sunken front entrances and wide ‘shop windows’ to the workshop units, to which a central metal canopy* has been added (not of special interest). Above are the windows and recessed balconies of the residential units.

The western half of the south block comprises two stepped terraces each of five maisonettes, arranged in handed pairs around small terraces with a single end unit to the north. Their front doors are recessed diagonally behind chamfered corners to form entrance porches, screened by sloping flank walls. The stairways lead up to a paved deck with access to two levels of flats to the north. The upper pairs of flats are accessed from steps which splay out at the base, joining brick bin stores incorporating round lamps in pre-cast concrete units. The area behind is an entrance court for the lower flats. The opposite dwellings to the west are provided with brick planters. Brick walls* have been inserted between the planters at a later date to create an enclosed forecourt to the residents’ entrances; these additions are not of special interest.

INTERIORS: the workshop interiors to the north block have fair faced concrete block, now over-painted in some units, and a concrete screed floor. Breeze block steps of alternating-tread type with a metal handrail lead to an upper level. To the front of the units is a double-height space lit by north light-type glazing. The windows bear onto a continuous edge beam with deep chamfers, and the sloping party walls have stepped concrete edges which coordinate with the block dimensions. At the rear of the units is a top-lit mezzanine gallery, fitted with painted steel steps and railings. The second-floor workshops are smaller and their mezzanine levels have slots fitted into the floor over the jetty, the outermost retaining their glazing.

Many of the shop units on Langtry Walk have been refitted, with suspended ceilings and new floor surfaces. The shop interiors* are not of special interest. The shopkeepers’ flats have three narrow bedrooms and a square living room separated by a kitchen; the flat interiors* are not of special interest. The rear corridor incorporates an internal hallway with recessed pram store, exposed brickwork and a painted panel ceiling. The front windows project out, giving a tiled ledge approximately 1.5m deep.

The south block comprises three dwelling types. The interiors* of the south block flats are not of special interest. The two terraces to the west are maisonettes entered from the upper level. Adjoining the entrance is a kitchen-diner with a sliding door connecting with the living room. The living room has full-width french windows* opening onto a balcony with brick retaining walls, chunky wooden rails and a triangular corner seat. The french windows are uPVC replacements and not of special interest. Stairs lead down to a bathroom/WC and two bedrooms, both of which open onto a terrace with a rear entrance to the lower terrace.

East of the access deck are two interlocking, split-level flats, arranged in handed pairs. The lower flats are entered from an entrance court with adjacent patio doors to a front kitchen-diner. From the hallway are straight flights of stairs leading up to a living room with full-width patio doors to rear balcony; and down to two bedrooms. External stairs give access to the upper flats which have a kitchen/diner overlooking the access deck. Stairs rise to an intermediate level with two bedrooms, and an adjacent straight flight gives access to an upper living room with full-width patio doors to a front balcony.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: south of the north block is a concrete retaining wall which separates the road from a pedestrian walkway which leads west to Alexandra Road estate.

* Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that these aforementioned features are not of special architectural or historic interest.

Sources

Books and journals
Redfern, L.G., Masonry in Architecture, (1984), pp.86-7
Relph-Knight, L., 'Design Match' in Building Design, , Vol. no.522, (21 November 1980), p.10
'Architectural Review' in Architectural Review, , Vol. vol. 159, no. 947, (January 1976), pp.26-27
'Tom Kay' in Architects' Journal, , Vol. vol.153, no.3, (20 January 1971), 140-43
Websites
1974-80 Workshops & Housing: Loudoun Road, London NW8, accessed 30 July 2015 from http://all-sorts.biz/tomkayarchitect/index.php?id=11
P. Davey and B. Campbell 2008 ‘Obituary: Tom Kay’ in The Guardian, accessed 30 July 2015 from www.theguardian.com/culture/2008/mar/27/2

Legal

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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