Woodberry Down is a hugely significant long-term project that is transforming a prominent district of inner North London. Large areas of housing that had become unfit for purpose are being sequentially replaced by an entirely new built environment, integrated into a stunning natural landscape of immense ecological and community value.
Rolfe Judd has been involved in Woodberry Down since 2006. Our architects and planning consultants have been instrumental in the development of Woodberry Down and have designed and delivered on every phase of the Masterplan.
As one of the few practices in London with the experience and skills to deliver such a complex inner city regeneration project, Rolfe Judd is proud to be playing a pivotal role in the rebirth of Woodberry Down. This brochure presents the story of Woodberry Down and highlights Rolfe Judd’s involvement in giving expression to its ambition
The regeneration of Woodberry Down has already impacted significantly upon the local area, both as a new place to live and a model of best practice in large-scale urban regeneration projects.
The Masterplan scheme in its entirety sets out to replace every single dwelling, delivering some 5,500 residential units of mixed tenure including a substantial percentage of affordable housing. This virtually triples the number of units previously available on the estate, while providing more open space and opportunities for communal use than ever before. The site is uniquely characterised by a biodiverse area of natural wetland in the form of the New River and the East and West Reservoirs. The Masterplan ingeniously splices this ecological feature into each new phase of building so that it becomes totally integrated with the local environment.
The regeneration of Woodberry Down has already impacted significantly upon the local area, both as a new place to live and a model of best practice in large-scale urban regeneration projects. National recognition has included the award for Outstanding Placemaking in the 2017 British Homes Awards and the coveted RICS UK Project Of The Year 2018.
Fundamental principles were drawn up at the inception of the project enshrining the critical relationship between the reservoir, the landscape and housing. Referred to as Kick Start, these criteria have been protected and nurtured throughout the entire development span.
For example, it is central to the spirit of Woodberry Down that there should be no visible difference between affordable and private housing. The concept of ‘green fingers’ was an integral component of Kick Start: named after the intertwining of the wetland area around the reservoirs and New River into the built environment itself, this is the defining characteristic of Woodberry Down.
Today’s visitor to Woodberry Down will be immediately struck by a powerful fusion with nature. Every building makes this connection: a view down the ‘street’ to the water; a carefully planted open space; a balcony or private garden space; carefully-specified materials and finishes.
Now, more than at any time in the past, is the time for large urban regeneration schemes such as Woodberry Down to make a bold statement in support of sustainability and protecting the environment.
In contrast to the post-war estate that is being replaced, nature becomes the defining characteristic of the new development. Take a gentle stroll on a timber boardwalk among head-high reeds, get active on the water, take out the binoculars or simply sit and listen to the birdsong. A life among nature should be a right, not a privilege, and yet it is a right denied to so many.
Woodberry Down, with its green fingers and pathways criss-crossing down to the water, is a dramatic statement that helps to turn the tide. Richly planted spaces through which pedestrian routes curve gently and organically are punctuated by mature trees and natural stone features. Above, balconies offer residents the space to make their own ecological statement, while green and brown roofs provide significant ecological benefits including wildlife habitat, insulation and absorption of swale.