Islington History & Architecture Group – notes from 1st session of the summer term to find out about CZWG’s Islington Square
Lead by Astrid Rehwald – lead architect on the IslingtonSquare project
We met Astrid at the former Mitre pub on Upper Street – a building which will form part of the Islington Square development and is currently being used to house a model of the development
Astrid talked us through the project which will see former Post Office buildings transformed into a mixed use scheme including housing / commercial – space for retail and offices / leisure
Using plans, images and the model Astrid shared her knowledge and experience of working on the project, she explained:
- how they got planning permission
- the different elements of the project – part refurbishment / adaption of Edwardian buildings and demolition and new build
- how they work with their client / developer
- the plans for the existing buildings – how they are to be transformed
- each floor of the development – floor by floor – taking in the different aspects, from the retail arcade and new pedestrian link on the ground floor – to the luxury penthouses on the top
The talk was followed up with a visit to the site – we were able to visit “Block A” the former Post Office north London sorting office.
Astrid took us up floor by floor – right to the top. Giving the group a chance to see the building in its current state and better understand how the building will be adapted. Having a chance to visit the building enabled the group to understand the complexities of working with historic buildings.
The group took great interest in the window specifications – and were able to see and test the various window options CZWG have installed in order to find which one works best (and meets the approval of the Islington planning department). The views from the top of the building were amazing – all of London’s landmarks – it was easy to imagine the space as penthouse rooftop gardens in the future.
It was a great privilege to see a redundant historic building in transition – in its current derelict state before transformation.
Experiencing the building in a derelict state was evocative – giving a glimpse of the past - whilst also thinking about the future – the visit will be a reference point for the group – having a chance to experience it “before” we now look forward watching it develop in the years ahead and seeing and experiencing it again in its renewed design.
We benefited from Astrid’s knowledge and passion – someone who knows the building inside out – she communicated CZWG’s vision and intentions for the scheme with clarity and enthusiasm.