Morland Gardens is a large, mixed-use development in Stonebridge, close to Harlesden town centre in north-west London. Along with the general need for social and affordable housing, our clients, Brent’s regeneration team, had identified a specific need for homes that would provide a safe haven for those recently arrived in the borough. Their ambition was not only to deliver these homes, but to complement them with learning space and affordable work units that residents could access easily, enabling them to get the best possible start in their new lives.
We had been having conversations with Brent for some time, looking at different models for combining uses, but Morland Gardens presented a real opportunity to develop these further. We knew that the project would not just be about architecture; it would be about demonstrating empathy for the future residents and users of the scheme, and building a design out of the many conversations – formal and off-the-cuff – that we had with the council’s education officers and regeneration specialists.
High-quality adult education is already offered on site at the Stonebridge Centre by Brent Start. We looked at a number of options to retain the locally-listed Victorian villa which is integrated with the centre buildings, but the council’s preferred option was for a full regeneration to create more homes. The resulting scheme uses the sloping site to integrate the different functions of the Stonebridge Centre with the new housing and workspace. It takes the form of a perimeter block around a central courtyard, modelled to protect the inner space from the busy road alongside, but to also to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the significant street frontage.