Holland Green

OMA with Allies and Morrison, London, 2016


Subscribe now to instantly view this image

Subscribe to the Architects’ Journal (AJ) for instant access to the AJ Buildings Library, an online database of nearly 2,000 exemplar buildings in photographs, plans, elevations and details.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

The apartments stand next to the former Commonwealth Institute, now the Design Museum 

Nick Guttridge     Download Original

  • The apartments stand next to the former Commonwealth Institute, now the Design Museum    
  • View from the hyperbolic paraboloid roof of the Design Museum    
  • The former Commonwealth Institute (left) is Grade II*-listed    
  • The apartments have a cube-like form    
  • The site is surrounded by landscaping    
  • Most apartments have a private open space    
  • The three blocks have been orientated at 45° to Kensington High Street    
  • Interior view out to the Design Museum    
  • The foyer    
  • Site plan    
  • Typical floors of the three residential blocks    
  • Block B level 5 plan    
  • Block C level 1 plan    
  • Block D shell and core section JJ    
  • Block D shell and core south and east elevations    
  • Block B north and east elevations    
  • Isometrics of the three residential blocks    
  • Typical vent plenum window details    
  • Block D translucent facade detail    

Three luxury apartment blocks on the former Commonwealth Institute site in London pitched at the luxury market.

These three new blocks have been orientated at 45° to Kensington High Street. The different sizes of the three cube-like buildings echo their context; the smallest block responds to the park, the middle one to the street, and the largest to the height of the institute’s sweeping roof, and they are all surrounded by landscaping from Dutch firm West 8.

The windows reflect the glazing of the Commonwealth Institute while the blocks’ strict forms erode away at the corners, where terraces or projecting forms can be found. The regimented Jura limestone facades are a combination of two schemes that were rejected during planning consultations.

The residential buildings are ‘sculptures in a park’, with gridded forms that contain the apartments in a supportive neutral geometry. The patterning of their facades allows for a diversity of individual apartment layouts, which are expressed in the facade by balconies, projecting bays and recessed terraces. These create a diverse and unique composition for each facade. It also allows private open spaces to be distributed to the majority of apartments, avoiding a more standard repetitive facade expression. The building concept design has proven an enduring and robust strategy, permitting design changes to the apartment layouts by adjusting balcony, entrance and skybox positions, always as a careful composition, but without compromising the integrity of the overall design.


  • Begun: Sep 2012
  • Completed: 2016
  • Floor area: 396,065m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £120M
  • Address: Melbury Court, London, W8 6AX, United Kingdom

Professional Team