City North is a major redevelopment of previously industrial land to create a vibrant new local centre integrated with a transport hub. The core objective was to create a new focus and a new sense of place for Finsbury Park, acting as a catalyst for wider regeneration and assisting in improving the image of Finsbury Park.
Planning permission for the redevelopment was originally obtained in 2010 to designs by Benson & Forsyth. Rolfe Judd took on the consented design and developed it further, obtaining subsequent Planning permissions, and progressed the project through the remaining stages.
The project creates a truly mixed-use district centre. Residential apartments for all tenures include private, shared ownership, and social rented. All residential buildings are designed to the highest quality, regardless of tenure. Reception and concierge / estate management facilities are provided. Other integrated uses include retail; café; restaurant; health club; multiscreen cinema; station entrance; offices; underground car park for residents.
The site was originally poorly accessed, almost land locked. The new development opened up the site, providing fresh connectivity by creating a new street linking to the existing surrounding streets, as well as enabling a new entrance to Finsbury Park Station.
The scheme consists of several main elements addressing different scales depending on the local relationships, uses, and near and far views. The podium building containing the various amenity and commercial uses, at basement, ground, first and part second floor levels relates to the immediate context of lower buildings. Moving to the mid scale in the inner part of the block, a 10 storey linear building punctuated with a tapestry of framed balconies, contains apartments at the higher levels, articulated from the continuing podium below. The linear terrace building to the North integrates into the existing streetscape and announces the new development at the North-west street corner. Two striking 21-storey landmark towers providing residential accommodation signpost the centre of the Finsbury Park district from afar, as well as anchoring and balancing the overall composition at either end of the development. Most apartments benefit from dramatic and extensive views all over London.
The public realm has been designed to link and incorporate the scheme into the surrounding urban fabric, create a wealth of active frontages and landscaped amenity spaces. The new station entrance is integrated into the podium in the bend of the street easily visible from different directions. Extensive landscaped amenity spaces for the residents make best use of the podium roof, as well as providing rainwater attenuation. A dramatic footbridge from the residential linear building to the amenity podium forms one of the gateways to the development.
Constructive working with the many parties facilitated the development and delivery of this complex scheme. This included working adjacent to live surface and underground railways, integrating the requirements of numerous stakeholders, including LUL, Network Rail, cinema operator, retail tenants, social housing provider, health club operator.
The detailed design and construction was developed to facilitate buildability in challenging situations, including use of precast concrete panels and unitised cladding and glazing to enable safe and efficient construction in proximity of railways. The cinema adjacent to surface and underground railways and below residential units; included a “box within a box” construction providing acoustic and vibration isolation.