Offering vertical central London living in the heart of Somers Town, dRMM’s Brill Place is an essential part of Camden’s aspirational Community Investment Programme (CIP). The tower will contribute to the viability of the ambitious CIP programme of affordable housing, community facilities, a primary school and private housing within a redefined public open space.
The brief for the tower demanded the smallest possible building footprint whilst maximising value within a highly constrained location and with no net loss of public open space. The evolution of the residential tower was an iterative process, which developed in parallel with the emerging community building and affordable housing designs as part of the wider masterplan.
The scheme adopts a ‘light touch’ approach with a small footprint, a slender profile to minimise overshadowing to neighbours, and a fully glazed plinth that ensures transparency through to Purchese Street Open Space.
The design for the tower reconciles a complex set of site constraints – the siting adjacent to St Pancras Station, the newly completed Francis Crick Institute and the two- and three-storey properties of Coopers Lane Estate. The tight urban conditions could not accommodate a conventional tower floor plate. Instead, a new typology of paired micro towers has been developed. The footprint of the proposed tower consists of two parallel elements, the northern of which is slightly slimmer to allow for views into the park from all apartments.
The development is 25 storeys high, including a double-height ground floor and top floor, plus a single storey basement. The distinct micro tower elements are expressed as vertical forms that taper at high level to a point, creating a ‘scissor’ profile of opposing slopes. The design has been developed in a considered way and appears as slender and unobtrusive as possible. The reducing floor plate towards the peak offers a skyline profile that echoes the steepled skyline of the St Pancras clock tower. The arrangement of the apartments within the tower maximises daylight and views. The imposition of the Crick Institute has resulted in a principle east/west aspect with long views north into the park.
The highly articulated façade is composed of balconies, projecting window bays and winter-gardens; an expression of the internal organisation. All apartments enjoy wrap-around glazed corners offering panoramic views. The primary glazed façades are shaded by sliding solar control screens. These screens provide animation, privacy and a consistent expression to the façades. These elements also enclose the balconies providing an extended living space, and are expressed with a bespoke pattern that takes inspiration from Francis Crick’s DNA sampling.
All buildings are designed to meet Camden’s ambitious environmental standards and will connect into the site-wide energy strategy.
Drawings © dRMM
Images © dRMM and Cityscape