Wembley Park is one of London’s biggest opportunity areas and is seeing the fruition of thousands of dwellings and student residences next to hotels and new businesses. GRID’s competition winning perimeter block creates new robust streets yet contains a one acre private garden for the benefit of the residents. The courtyard has the sought after views and the highest value. GRID developed the construction drawings for the 475 dwellings in 7 buildings built as one phase in 22 months. SISK were the contractors.
There are many entrances and cores for affordable tenures, private for sale and private rental sector apartments. Social rent has a dedicated core for maintenance and discount market sales are pepper-potted; all tenures are ‘blind’. Each residential building has a street entrance and a second access from the central garden. A ‘super lobby’ becomes the ceremonial front door but there is a second garden entrance from a new pocket park, also designed by GRID.
The modulation of the mass is a response to the overall masterplan with a series of mansion blocks and taller point blocks. To achieve the courtyard form required making the perimeter blocks more efficient and deeper. The gaps between buildings and varied heights allows more sunlight and glimpsed views in, but also views out to Wembley Arena and Stadium. The garden, which includes mature trees, rolling lawns and water feature, is actually on a deck above a car park, cycles stores, energy centre and artists’ studios.
The façade language varies depending on the location; robust for the street, more civic adjacent to the new Town Hall ( Hopkins Architects ) and a taller ‘tower’ proportion with aluminium panels to give reflections when viewed at distance. The predominant material is brick in three related colours, essential to reflect that there are many demises within a large scale project.
Everything is based on a series of modules and the variations follow that theme by simple material changes or using different handrails to balconies. Components are standardised; balconies ( 2 types ), windows details, and entrances, only varying the brick choice and metal colour. The three window types were one of a number of offsite products and including pod bathrooms and kitchens.