Residential

Muswell Hill by pH+ Architects by Alex Upton

 Muswell Hill by pH+ Architects 2017. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Muswell Hill by pH+ Architects 2017. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Location: Muswell Hill, Haringey, Barnet, London
Contractor / Client: Gilbert Ash / Jamm Living
Photography Client: Taylor Maxwell
Architect: pH+ Architects (Puncher Hamilton Plus)

Photographed in late 2017, Muswell Hill by pH+ Architects is a mixed-use, luxury development located in the affluent North London suburb of the same name. The scheme comprises 22 new apartments, 6 houses, commercial space and a community centre.

 Muswell Hill by pH+ Architects 2017.

Muswell Hill by pH+ Architects 2017.

The development is located at the apex of one of London's highest hills - a fact that I can attest to after unwittingly driving past the site, which recedes from view of the main road, and subsequently having to ascend its acute gradient on foot, with camera gear mounted to my back like a season mountaineer. Arriving, I was greeted by a beautiful golden autumn light which bathed the architecture in a resplendent glow, accenting the multi-coloured brickwork and already golden facade panels that surround the glazing.

 Muswell Hill by pH+ Architects 2017

Muswell Hill by pH+ Architects 2017

The scheme was delivered by London developers Jamm Living, whose vision along with that of the architects was to create a contemporary interpretation of traditional Edwardian Housing. The residential element, which has been split into three distinct sections, follows the steeply stepping contours of the land. The distinctly modern, yet restrained facade, has been broken down into alternating sequences of brick, stone, metal and glazing.

 Muswell Hill by pH+ Architects 2017.

Muswell Hill by pH+ Architects 2017.

Muswell Hill is a wonderful development, one which I would have unlikely encountered had I not been commissioned to photograph it for the client Taylor Maxwell. For the residents its concealed setting is likely a desirable feature, but for architecture enthusiasts it means it will potentially go quietly unobserved. Hopefully these photos, more of which can be found in my portfolio, will give some exposure to this well considered scheme.

103-109 Wardour Street by Sheppard Robson by Alex Upton

 103-109 Wardour Street, Soho by Sheppard Robson -  Copyright © Alex Upton

103-109 Wardour Street, Soho by Sheppard Robson -  Copyright © Alex Upton

Architectural Photography of 103-109 Wardour Street

Location: 103-109 Wardour Street, Soho, London.
Architect / Client: Sheppard Robson
Developer: Legal & General Investment Management

103-109 Wardour Street, once home to Pathé Films has been transformed by Sheppard Robson Architects and their interior division ID:SR Interiors into 13 luxury apartments, a gym and two duplex penthouses. I was recently commissioned by Sheppard Robson to photograph the road side elevation which features the beautifully restored Portland Stone Edwardian facade. This was not the first intervention to give the early 1900's building a new lease of life, in 1996 all but the frontage had been removed and replaced with a structure of somewhat lesser design quality. Sheppard Robson's approach has been to create a more coherent rapport between the facade and the rest of the building, maintaining a consistency of quality while still being unabashedly modern in its approach.   

 103-109 Wardour Street Facade Detail -  Copyright © Alex Upton

103-109 Wardour Street Facade Detail -  Copyright © Alex Upton

Notes on the Photography

The building is located in the vibrant district of Soho along a dense stretch of narrow road. The window for photographing the building under the ideal lighting conditions was narrow and coincided with the early morning deliveries being made to replenish the local cafes and bistros. With several parking spaces inconveniently acting as magnets for delivery vans and other four wheeled obstructions, it was no easy task to photograph, especially when compounded by its proximity to the adjacent buildings. Timing, agility and awareness were once again pushed to their limits, which led to a spontaneously choreographed performance between photographer, impatient van driver and, don't block my way, i'm late for work, city worker.

 103-109 Wardour Street Arched Window Detail -  Copyright © Alex Upton

103-109 Wardour Street Arched Window Detail -  Copyright © Alex Upton

The original detailing on the facade, from the stone-work to the intricate lead spacers between the window panels is now harmonious with the opulence of the newly created interior. In addition to its aesthetic qualities the building also offers high sustainability credentials, achieving BREEAM Eco-homes Excellent for the refurbished elements. With the respectful marriage of classic and modern elements architects Sheppard Robson have created a high quality space which will no doubt be a highly desirable place to live.

One Tower Bridge by Squire and Partners by Alex Upton

 One Tower Bridge: Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

One Tower Bridge: Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Development: One Tower Bridge
Architect: Squire and Partners
Location: Southwark, London
Developer: Berkeley Homes

As its title not-so-subtly proclaims One Tower Bridge is a luxury residential development situated in close proximity to the historic landmark and Grade I listed Tower Bridge. As if being in the company of one iconic London landmark wasn't enough to enhance its prestige, the development also finds itself sitting parallel to the Tower of London - located just over the river - and slightly west from Foster & Partners’ City Hall and More London. With such distinguished neighbours it comes as no surprise that the apartments on offer here lean towards the more affluent end of the market.

 One Tower Bridge: Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

One Tower Bridge: Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

The development which includes 400 apartments, retail and cultural space is formed from nine architecturally varied and independent blocks, each utilising different materials and forms to break up the potential monotony of such a large site. Sat behind the three eleven-story blocks with projecting stone balconies are two buildings clad in a yellow London stock brick, it was these two buildings - Windsor House and Lancaster House - that I was commissioned to photograph on behalf of the brick supplier Taylor Maxwell.

 One Tower Bridge: Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

One Tower Bridge: Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

This section of the development with its projecting timber balconies and basketweave brickwork references the former warehouses that once lined the riverbank, some surviving examples of which are located not far away along the historic riverside street that is Shad Thames, although these warehouses now also find themselves being utilised as high-end living quarters.

 One Tower Bridge: Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

One Tower Bridge: Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Situated between the two buildings is a new pedestrian route named Duchess Walk, which architects Squire and Partners have positioned to maximise views through the site from Tooley Street to Tower Bridge. Walking down this alley you can see the high quality architectural detailing and spruce potted shrubbery which only such a development can afford. If you crane your neck upwards from the framed view of Tower Bridge towards the projecting balconies which cascade off towards the horizon you may be graced with the presence of a lucky occupant looking down upon you from 'The Tower' also known as building number five.

 One Tower Bridge: Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

One Tower Bridge: Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

This section of the development which rises above all the others is a thin, multistory, mini-edifice which from a distance has the appearance of a fire station drill tower. Fortunately on closer inspection its appearance is much more dignified if not looking somewhat incompatible with the rest of the design. The peak of the tower appears to contain a miniature sky garden and viewing platform which must accommodate great views in all directions.

 One Tower Bridge: Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

One Tower Bridge: Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Squire and Partners’ scheme was not the first proposal for the site, the first being outlined a number of years before by Ian Ritchie Architects, which would have seen a cluster of small Dalek-like residential towers – more in keeping with City Hall, but not Tower Bridge – lining the riverbank. Although initially approved it later met resistance from the London Borough of Southwark and the scheme was eventually terminated. This highlights the difficulties for an architect in addressing such a location, context is paramount and if the building tries to outdo its neighbour – a structure which was also seen as contentious and outlandish upon its conception – then it is inevitably going to be open to heightened criticism, objection and the inevitable refusal. This seems to leave only one option open to both developer and architect; create something which is high quality yet indiscreet, something that contextualises itself within the locations past at the expense of its present. Such token gestures can at times be restrictive and stifle innovation and creativity producing an architecture which is subservient to its surroundings, but such restrictions can also offer a framework to channel new ideas and make sure a project doesn’t submit to the developer’s predisposition to maximise profit and the expense of good architecture. One Tower Bridge seems to settle somewhere in the middle of this predicament, it is undoubtedly of a high quality, with careful attention to detail and utilises materials and elements which reference the sites history, although as a whole, while not even slightly unpleasant it seems somewhat restrained and muted from being what it wants to be. To see more of my architectural photographs of One Tower Bridge please head over to the projects section of my portfolio.

Lexicon Tower by Skidmore Owings & Merrill by Alex Upton

Lexicon Tower - Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Development: Lexicon 261 City Road
Architects: Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM)
Location: City Road, Islington, London
Height: 115m (36fl)

Lexicon Tower - Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton 

The Lexicon is a residential development by Mount Anvil which stands adjacent to Canaletto Tower on the waterfront, just beside City Road. It is one of a number of new high-rise buildings to spring up on this stretch of road, alongside Make architects Atlas Building, Foster and Partners 250 City Road and the recently completed The Eagle and Montcalm Signature Tower developments by Terry Farrell & Partners and Squire & Partners collaboration with 5plus architects respectively.

Lexicon Tower - Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

This sleek tower was designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) architects - the team behind the world’s current tallest building Dubai’s Burj Khalifa - and features both a high-rise and low-rise element. The Lexicon's minimal aesthetic is accented by its use of high quality materials, the façade being covered with a beautiful clear class which curves at the corner sections. There are 146, one, two and three bedroom luxury apartments within spread across the buildings 36 floors.

Lexicon Tower - Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

The stone clad detailing around the base of the tower becomes sharp and angular, cutting into he surrounding space projecting an interesting play between light and shadow. This lower portion of the building complements the more restrained and curvaceous upper portion by contrasting both form and materials, and in doing so breaks up the monotony of what could have been a singular design feature.

Lexicon Tower - Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

I am looking forward to returning to this area over the coming years and photographing the new developments, most of which are still at the ground works stage. Once Lexicon and Canaletto are joined by Norman Foster's 250 City Road this small area will be home to some truly iconic architecture by three leading architectural practices.

Canaletto by UNStudio by Alex Upton

Canaletto 259 City Road - Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Development: Canaletto 259 City Road
Architects: UNStudio
Location: City Road, Islington, London
Height: 90m (31fl)

Canaletto 259 City Road - Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Canaletto is a residential tower designed by Dutch architect Ben van Berkel of UNStudio. The building is located at 259 City Road which borders on Islington, The City, Shoreditch and Clerkenwell. Construction is still on going with most of the work now taking place at the base of the tower where the concierge area is being fitted out, these architectural photographs capture Canaletto's current progress.

Canaletto 259 City Road - Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Returning from a trip to the recently opened Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the Victoria Miro Gallery - which for prospective residents is conveniently located a minuets walk from the Canaletto building along with a McDonald's Drive Thru, a real melting pot of high and low brow culture - i happened to chance upon these beautiful cloud formations passing over the tower. These photographs of Canaletto are the result of me trying to recalibrate my senses after being dazzled by Kusama's infinity mirror installations, which by the way are well worth a visit. 

Canaletto 259 City Road - Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

The lucky residents of this tower will have access to a wide range of facilities including what will be a stylish restaurant, private screening room, swimming pool and gymnasium and a 24th floor private club and sky terrace. The innovative design by UNStudio incorporates balconies into the linear and somewhat bulbous chrome clad panels that wrap around the buildings façade, which according to the architects create 'sustainability benefits achieved through surface modelling, with opportunities for shading, balancing good internal daylight and views with reduced heat gains'. Along with their sustainable credentials these panels produce some beautiful forms which for and architectural photographer offer endless opportunities for new and exciting compositions.

Canaletto 259 City Road - Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Canaletto is located in an area which is currently seeing a lot of developments start to rise, with Foster and Partners 250 City Road residential apartments just beginning to break ground over the road and the adjacent Lexicon building also nearing completion - for which a photograph update will follow shortly. 

Canaletto 259 City Road - Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton