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Friday, 12 September 2014

Islington History & Architecture Group - activities recap

Our Islington History & Architecture Group has been busy this Summer term
Here is a brief recap of our activities, with some illustrative pictures. Our thanks to all the Built Environment experts who helped make these walks and discussions happen, and to our faithful Islington History & Architecture Group!

CZWG Architects Islington Square
For the first session we met with CZWG Architects for an introduction to their Islington Square project which will see the former Post Office North London sorting office (located just off Upper Street) transformed into housing and commercial space.

Lead architect on the project, Astrid Rehwald also took us on a tour of the old sorting office, exploring the building floor by floor right to the roof top which is to be converted into penthouse apartments.
Seeing the building in its current derelict state was an evocative experience and helped us to visualise how the development will take shape.

Read a blog post about this visit here <http://buildingexploratory.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/czwg-show-islington-history.html> .

Former Hornsey Road Baths
We have also been to see how the Former Hornsey Road Baths have been imaginatively converted into a venue for young people called Platform. Complete with a theatre, performance space, recording studio and a café (which is open to the public so do visit if you are in the area) it made for an inspiring visit for all ages.

Housing Strategy in Islington talk
Islington Council's Hitesh Tailor (Principal Housing Policy Analyst) and David Jump (Commissioning Officer, Islington Council Supporting People Team) gave the group a talk about LB Islington's housing strategy. The presentation generated a great deal of discussion about a wide range of housing issues including affordable homes, new housing developments, the private rented sector, the impact of a transient population the development of a housing strategy for older people in Islington. You can find out more about the Council's plans by clicking here <http://www.islington.gov.uk/services/housing/newbuildimprovinghomes/policiesandstrategies/Pages/default.aspx> .

Islington Council are currently working on a Housing Strategy for older people and would like older Islington residents to fill in a questionnaire to help inform the strategy, if you would like to take part in the survey please contact david.jump@islington.gov.uk

Tour of Canonbury
Billy Hurley-Reading from English Heritage took us on a fantastic tour of Canonbury, beginning at Canonbury Tower Billy’s tour talked us through the history of the area’s development from Tudor times to today.  The tour focused on the fascinating architectural heritage of the area and revealed some of Canonbury’s past residents. Billy’s passion for architecture and conservation is infectious and we all learnt how to spot relieving arches and can now date homes built before 1843 by looking at window details.

Arundel Square
For the final session of the summer term we met in Arundel Square to see how the see how the Building Exploratory involved local people in shaping the public garden. This was also an opportunity to see a housing scheme by Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects (who we visited earlier this year), a development which completed the final side of the Victorian square that had never been built. It was a relaxed end of term session and we enjoyed looking at old photos to see how the square has changed over the years and debated the new housing scheme - the consensus was that it made a positive addition to Arundel Square. We loved how a concrete slab built over the railway line as part of the development doubled the size of the green space to improve a much loved local park.

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