Shepherdess Walk is a new residential development in central London, located near to Old Street roundabout, on the border of Shoreditch, London’s technology hub and design district of Clerkenwell.
Jaccaud Zein Architects
Nature7 Brick L
© David Grandorge
© Helène Binet
Situated at the corner of Shepherdess Walk and Wenlock Street, the project mediates between the different historical conditions and formal qualities of the site to propose an unapologetically contemporary project for a terrace of houses and an apartment building with a strong sense of place. Jaccaud Zein Architects wanted to stitch the development into its context and work with the tectonic expression of brick buildings.
Shepherdess Walk has a rich historical heritage of terraced housing and fragments of the continuous Georgian frontages are still visible despite the heavy bomb damage suffered during the Second World War. The project draws on this historical fabric and reinstates three terraced houses on Shepherdess Walk in a contemporary reinterpretation of the type.
Gentle variations of the façades with Nature7 Brick L
enable a subtle closure of the street towards the adjacent park, giving both orientation to the open space from within the building and clarification of the boundaries of the streetscape. This slight folding also echoes the geometry of the adjacent Georgian terrace, reinforcing the historical identity and character of the street beyond the boundaries of the project.
Facing on to Wenlock Street, the first house folds again more sharply asserting its presence towards the south of Shepherdess Walk and opening the angle of the site towards a second apartment building.
This shift in scale between the terraced houses and the apartment block generates a vivid urban juxtaposition that reinforces the presence and identity of the corner in the neighbourhood.
The buildings are clad in a brick that was chosen to reflect the patinated materiality of the surroundings, once again stitching the development into its context. Slight variations to the pointing of the brickwork allow for a horizontal banding to the apartment building façade, directing the gaze along the depth of the street and marking an articulation in the bulk of the building.
Architects Jaccaud Zein opted for a typical Yellow London Weathered brick with the advantages of the slim line and the 70mm depth of the Nature7 range. This ecological-sized brick has the advantage of creating more room for insulation or interior space. A quality that becomes more and more important in a market with strict regulations and where square inches equal revenue.
Deep window reveals emphasise the threshold between the intimacy of the interior spaces and the street giving a sense of weight and presence to the buildings.
A split-level section was developed which was applied to both houses and apartments. This configuration allows for the juxtaposition of rooms with different usages around double-height connected spaces, offering a sense of spatial generosity and continuity.
The complexity of the section is not immediately apparent from the exterior with only hints given by the large-scale windows to the presence of the double height spaces.
Every dwelling has an exterior space with a variety of specific qualities. If the houses have rear walled gardens which echo the surrounding Georgian types the apartments have a diversity of exterior spaces which open up to spectacular views at the top of the building, incorporating views of London and its surroundings into the building.