Unit 02: Ideal World

Unit brief


Between St Anne’s Close and Swains Lane London N6.

Optimistic modernism of Walter Segal on the north, builder's-classical Swains Lane on the south, developer’s Neo-Tudor Holly Lodge Estate on the east, and leafy North London suburbia in Highgate West Hill on the west. The character of the area has been formed by the casualness of the architecture and the way that people have occupied and used it.


Dwellings, workspaces, social facilities, retail and places of sociability.

Can we make residential architecture as freely as that which is already there, according to the style and issues of the present times, which is low in energy consumption, spatially generous, open to interpretation by successive occupants, reconfigurable, extendible and community forming, where children can play freely and safely as they do in the Segal scheme?

Can we make social, retail and work spaces that are healthy and generous, that enrich the life in residential parts and the streets?

There are some rules to follow: constructibility, energy management, building regulations, observing but exceeding the London Housing design guide.

There are some prevailing tendencies to be avoided: sentimental facades, thoughtless deference to the surroundings in style and height, small apartments, no sense of community, workspaces as kindergartens. And no towers!

There are some types of workspace to be critically studied: 

Second home with its belief in proximity and certain types of styling.

Highgate studios just down from the hill from the project location, where I and a number of other practices work, with simple spaces, a cafe, nursery and restaurant.


Photo credit: Ingrid Alihusain

Sideway rainbow over city


Architecture MA
Tutors Prof Tony Fretton 
Where Goulston Street
Room GS2-31
When Monday and Thursday


Architecture Postgraduate Studios


Cass Studios archive by year