The British Homes Awards


The 151-home Queensbridge Quarter development forms part of the regeneration of the Holly Street Estate in the London Fields area of Hackney. The three-bedroom home provides a fresh take on the traditional urban terraced house. The house is fronted by a low brick wall and railings, a combination that creates a traditional streetscape and blends with the existing Victorian terraced houses in the adjacent Queensbridge conservation area.

The house itself is faced in dark blue brick and contrasting white render, while timber feature panels add texture and interest to the elevations. Internally, the 1,089 square foot house has an open plan living area with clearly delineated kitchen, supplementary storage space below the stairs and in the attic, three bedrooms and a bathroom with built-in storage. The first floor landing features a double height ceiling and skylight, the latter providing natural light and summertime cooling. Homes are designed for energy efficiency, with thermal insulation and airtightness far exceeding building regulations requirements.

The extra thickness of the walls and roof increase U values by up to 50%. A draught lobby reduces heat loss and extensive glazing minimises the need for artificial lighting by day. The roof is pitched at 30 degrees as a future-proofing measure, as this makes it suitable for the installation of solar panels. Other energy saving features include the use of natural cross ventilation, low energy centralised extract fans and low energy lighting. The five storey apartment building was developed by United House Developments, working with Hackney Homes.

The design by Levitt Bernstein includes 28 one and two bedroom apartments and two penthouses. The striking exterior combines dark blue brick, white render and timber, with large glass and steel balconies. Building corners are marked by expanses of vertical timber cladding. The penthouses are clad in coloured glass, with their colours reflecting the hues of passing clouds. There are more splashes of colour at the building’s entrances, to give warmth. and individuality to the foyers.

Each apartment is accessed via its own private balcony. Apartment entrance halls and living areas have hardwood walnut flooring, while the open plan living area has floor-to-ceiling windows and an 11 sq metre wraparound balcony. The thermal insulation and air tightness of the homes far exceeds the requirements of the Building Regulations. Extra thick walls and roofs have increased U values by 50%, while draught lobbies minimise heat loss. Other energy saving features include natural cross ventilation to all apartments, low energy centralised extract fans and low energy lighting. Water use is minimised by the inclusion of dual flush low volume toilets, spray taps and water butts for ground floor homes. The building overlooks a small landscaped courtyard and cycle sheds, which are topped by sedum roofs.

Apartments are priced at from £300,000 and both the penthouses sold off plan for in excess of £500,000. The development is one element of the regeneration of the Holly Street Estate in the London Fields area of Hackney, which will ultimately provide 151 apartments and houses on a 1.2 hectare site. The first phase is complete and all private homes are now sold or occupied. Completion of the second phase is expected in 2010.


Levitt Bernstein Associates
1 Kingsland Passage
E8 2BB
Tel: 020 7275 7676
Contact: Simon Lea


United House Group
United House
Goldsel Road
Tel: 01322 665522
Contact: Shelly McIntosh