North London is considered one of the most multicultural areas in the UK, and one of the most attractive parts of London to live. Unsurprisingly, this popular area has some architectural gems for residents to enjoy. As architects, we’re often working in North London helping our clients to realise their dream home based around the scenarios of their everyday lives. Below, we’ll talk about 5 of the best architectural treasures you can view when your visit North London.
Kenwood House is a former stately home in Hampstead. This building was built in the 17th century as the residence for the Earl of Mansfield through the 18th and 19th centuries. By the end of the 1920s, the entire building was open to the public, and it remains a popular tourist attraction to this day. It isn’t difficult to see why.
The house has a series of breathtaking interiors, as well as a stunning art and furniture collection. One of the most valuable pieces of art in the entire country is on display here. You can see these masterpieces hanging in the lavish interior, including the famous Rembrandt’s self-portrait. Robert Adam’s magnificent library is also on show for visitors to enjoy. From antique clocks to French chandeliers, beauty can be found in every single corner in Kenwood House.
A favourite of the team at Scenario Architecture, there’s something for everybody including children’s activities. You can relax, explore, and get a taste of the history of the building on your visit. There are also 2 cafes you can choose from when you want to rest or grab a refreshment.
2 Willow Road
2 Willow Road was home to architect Ern? Goldfinger and his family as well as the Goldfingers’ impressive collection of modern art. The house expresses modernism in its make up, and on your visit here you will be able to take in all of the tastes and treasures of one of the most influential figures in the British modern movement. If you have an interest in modernism then 2 Willow Road is a must on your bucket list.
People who visit are free to explore the family’s original modern art collection, which includes works by Henry Moore, Max Ernst and Bridget Riley. Even the furniture is bespoke and a joy to behold, with plenty of interesting detail to pay attention to.
The Roundhouse was built in 1846 as a turntable engine shed (or roundhouse) for the London and Birmingham Railway. The original building was constructed by Branson & Gwyther, using designs by architects Robert B. Dockray and Robert Stephenson. The building boasts modest Victorian beginnings, but adds legendary value to London’s culture.
The Roundhouse is now a Grade II* listed building, and is a space dedicated to helping young creatives grow and express themselves in a fun environment. As well as being a stunning historical building, Camden Roundhouse is a place you can go to let your creative juices flow or watch an entertaining, professional show.
Lawn Road Flats
Lawn Road Flats is a concrete block of 36 flats (originally 32), designed by architect Wells Coates for Molly and Jack Pritchard. The building opened on 9 July 1934 as an experiment in minimalist urban living. The block of flats is a very pale pink colour and features extravagant balconies, and was creative as a built reproach to the older forms of domestic architecture that it is overlooking.
When this building was completed in 1934, it was an attempt to recast architecture in a new light based on the realities of domestic life and urban living at the time. Things had changed since the Great War, and people wanted to feel more ‘at home’ in their living spaces. Up until this point, they hadn’t felt relaxed or at home for a while. Coates’s sheer mastery of materials, space and form, as well as their synthesis into a distinctive language of architecture, all help to make this building a real turning point in the development of English modernism. The fact that this building was his first ever completed just tops it off.
The Black Cat Building
The Black Cat Building is an old cigarette factory. When you walk by, you will get the feeling that somebody, or something is watching you – you’ll quickly see why. The formidable faces of big black cats line the wall, and their yellow eyes stare straight ahead, watching those who walk by. The feline guards can look pretty intimidating, actually – although they did take a short break from their duties in the 1960s.
The Carreras Tobacco Company got its start in the 19th century as a small shop that became known for a local cat who enjoyed napping in its window on a regular basis. People loved this and this encouraged the company to adopt the black cat in its logo. The discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb around the same time also meant that people were obsessed with stories of Egypt. Because of this, vibrant Egyptian-style columns were erected outside the building’s exterior and the cats were added to guard the entrance. The building was originally supposed to take the form of a temple to a Goddess, but instead it transformed into what it is today. Mounds of sand was even used outside to make people feel as if they had been transported to the desert.
In spite of the building’s original Egyptian style, in the early 1960s it was converted into office spaces. The decor was stripped away, and, disappointingly, the cats that sat outside were taken away. In 1996, the building came under new ownership, and they decided to bring back the Egyptian feel that the building had originally encapsulated. The columns and black cats were restored once more, and the building is once again one of the most incredible architectural masterpieces in North London.
These architectural gems in North London are not to be missed, so make sure you plan a visit!
This guide is suitable for anyone requiring consent from the local council to alter a home. It reviews the ins and outs of UK planning and strategies for successfully navigating it, based on our own experience.