Tottenham’s architecture snaps up grants and awards

St Mark’s Methodist Church and Green House have been recognised as two local architectural gems

As we leave 2023 behind and head into the new year, it seems Haringey’s architecture has become one of this year’s highlights. A greenhouse-inspired home has been selected as a ‘house of the year’ – while another of the borough’s iconic buildings has just received a major cash boost to put it in good stead for the future.

The Green House – otherwise known as the ‘Tottenham riad’ – was completed in 2021, designed by architects at Hayhurst & Co. Last month, the Clyde Circus Conservation Area building was named ‘House of the Year’ in 2023’s Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Architecture Awards. It was also shortlisted for the RIBA London Award 2023 and RIBA London Project Architect of the Year 2023.

The sustainable home features a ‘living wall’ of bamboo visible through sliding panels of polycarbonate and galvanized steel. The other side of the house is covered with corrugated panels of recycled cellulose and black bitumen.

The building has gained its nickname for its original inspiration: a Moroccan riad, a building which encloses an internal garden. Blending the outside with the in, the architects say the design draws on the area’s heritage as a former home to “coach houses, orchards, greenhouses and market gardens”.

Photographer Tom van Schelven owns the house together with Amandine Neyses, using the space to host picture shoots and as a stage for children’s drama performances.

Lead architect Claire Taggart said: “The owners purchased the site in late 2018 with a view to creating a long-term sustainable family home for their family. They approached us in early 2019 with their brief to create a five-bedroomed home that maximised living space, a sense of height and access to nature for their growing family – all on a limited budget of £550,000.

“The design for Green House draws on the natural history and verdant character of the site, providing a contemporary and low energy re-imagining of a domestic-scale greenhouse.

“As the concept for the house was inspired by the green character of the site, all spaces within the house have views out to greenery. Double-aspect long views are created throughout the house to front and rear gardens and surrounding woodland and trees, creating a sense of openness that connects inside and out.”

Meanwhile, a building originally built in 1867 on Tottenham High Road has been handed £40,000 to ensure its survival. St Mark’s Methodist Church in Bruce Grove boasts a neo-Gothic chapel, along with Art Deco original features – including a square tower with cross-shaped windows built in 1938 often described as ‘a mini OXO tower’.

It’s one of the few Art Deco buildings in Tottenham, which is otherwise dominated by Victorian and Edwardian architecture. This style is more typically associated with cinemas, making it an unusual choice for a place of worship, as well as the four shops embedded in the front of the church.

Recent engineer inspections have found loose pieces of concrete as a result of cracks and water seeping into its structure, leaving the church at risk of deterioration. The £40,000 will facilitate the renovation of the building.

David Hills at Roger Mears Architects, who is working on the project, said: “The St Mark’s Methodist Church project is part of the Tottenham High Street heritage action zone, which is delivering improvements to a number of properties in Tottenham and is funded by Haringey Council and Historic England, and the additional funding from the National Churches Trust is fantastic news!

“As the architect for the proposals, I cannot wait to see this well loved Art Deco landmark restored to its rightful status on the High Road as Tottenham’s own ‘OXO Tower’, with repairs carried out to the historic 1930s concrete cladding and a new lighting scheme that will accentuate its key architectural features. New signage and glazing will provide a boost for local businesses and key public healthcare facilities, as well as providing a new entrance to the church, highlighting and celebrating its place at the heart of the community.”

Claire Walker, chief executive of the National Churches Trust, added: “The National Churches Trust is excited to be able to support St Mark’s Church to enable them to carry out urgent structural repairs to their building. Not only will this protect this important heritage, but it will help to keep the church building open and serving local people.”

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