Sunday, 5 February 2012

Andover, Armour Close, and hope.

There's a lot I like about the Andover Estate, but not streets like this where the ground level is nothing but garages: 

The 1970s orthodoxy was that cars were the future and should be parked indoors, and the architects did what seemed right at the time. 

But then fewer people round here took to car ownership than expected and manufacturers learnt how to make cars that could be left outside without rusting. 

So most of the garages are empty. It's wasteful and with no windows and no lights on the streets feel and are less safe. Even snow can't make them appealing. 

But there's a thing that gives me hope. This garden flat is, as far as I can tell, built out of the same space as the garages:

This one even has the same balcony overhang as the garages.

It must be possible to turn those empty garages into decent places to live.

This sort of thing is happening elsewhere in the borough. Islington Council's architects turned a disused garage near Pentonville Prison into this:

Armour Close, Housing Design Awards image

It's called Armour Close, it won a Housing Design Award, and you should take a look next time Open House comes round.


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