Barrett’s Grove

Groupwork + Amin Taha, London, 2016


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The scheme is located in Stoke Newington, London 

Jim Stephenson     Download Original

  • The scheme is located in Stoke Newington, London    
  • Balconies on the front elevation    
  • Wrapping the CLT superstructure is a protective lattice made of double-stacked brick with an open stretcher bond    
  • The CLT superstructure was erected in just eight days    
  • Cross laminated timber (CLT) is used for all wall, floor and roof superstructure    
  • Internally the CLT is left exposed, finished with a clear fire-retardant varnish    
  • An internal courtyard    
  • Acoustic-resilient layers and boards, insulation and a floating timber floor are built up above the floor superstructure and accommodate underfloor heating, power, data and hot and cold water services    
  • The brickwork complements the adjacent Victorian school    
  • The ability of material and structure to serve a number of purposes combined to remove the need for plasterboarded walls, suspended ceilings, cornices, skirtings and finishes such as tiling and paint    
  • Site plan    
  • Location plan    
  • Floor plans    
  • Sections AA and BB    
  • Exploded perspective view    
  • South (front) elevation    
  • Details    
  • Type A components    
  • Type A details    

At this London housing scheme, the architect plays with material textures.

Barrett’s Grove accommodates two three-bedroom family maisonettes, three two-bedroom four-person flats and a one-person studio. Set within a conservation area, it stands between a tall, Victorian, buff-coloured semi-detached townhouse and an Edwardian red brick primary school. Its form echoes the slender gables of the school and the standalone presence of the neighbouring ‘villa’ architype.

The cross-laminated timber (CLT) superstructure is left exposed, eliminating the need for plasterboard walls and suspended ceilings, cornices and skirting, tiling and paint. In the apartments, the doors are full height, so that they can easily ‘disappear’ when open, floor-to-ceiling cabinetry pieces create a comfortable window seat in the bedrooms while providing clever storage compartments, and the spruce contributes to the warm atmosphere.

When shortlisting the project for the Stirling Prize, the jury pointed out that ‘inside, the feeling is of a large house split into many homes’, a sensation heightened by the vertical circulation void and deliberately emphasised on the exterior with the almost cartoon-like pitched roof. Wrapping the CLT superstructure is a protective lattice made of double-stacked brick with an open stretcher bond – a slightly oversized pattern to accompany the oversized windows and oversized balconies on the front elevation.

The children in the adjacent school playground can touch Barrett’s Grove’s brickwork, while the residents are given folded leather straps as interior door handles – the willingness to keep those as economical as possible is also explained by the tailor-made articulated metal locks for the apartments’ front doors, with thumb grips that make them satisfying to hold, open and close.

As the load-bearing elements are exposed, the construction joints are made visible too. When going from the interior to the terrace, the wall’s full section is visible, revealing the structure’s depth and all its layers. The balconies are south-facing and ‘large enough for dining’. They protrude at 90 degrees to the front elevation, letting direct sunlight into every apartment and encouraging interaction between neighbours. Since balconies often become storage spaces for all sorts of residents’ paraphernalia, wicker is woven through the steel truss to avoid unattractive sights while ensuring privacy.


  • Begun: Feb 2015
  • Completed: May 2016
  • Floor area: 635m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £1.3M
  • Procurement: JCT Design and Build
  • CO2 Emissions: 16.84kg/m2/year
  • Address: Barrett's Grove, London, N16 8AR, United Kingdom

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