Altering Classic Mid-Century Houses: Woodsford Square, Holland Park

Original Design for Woodsford Square, nos. 2-7 Addison Road, London

Woodsford Square is a post war housing development of 131 terrace houses located on Addison Road, Kensington and Chelsea. The scheme is one of several developments in the area built at this time contrasting with the more traditional mid-Victorian villas and terraces. Designed by modernist architects Edwin Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew in 1966-74 the development is influenced by the traditional London squares of the mid-17th to mid-19th Century. Today these houses have proved popular practical family accommodation located in the heart of the borough, we have helped owners improve their properties whilst working within the historic setting.

Woodsford Square c.1974

History

Prior to the development the area was occupied by six early Victoria villas. Fry and Drew designed the new development for Wates proposing new communal squares in a modernist idiom. The houses are typically four storeys, clad with dark red brick with stained timber slatted doors and cladding details. Feature blue tiling is used at the entrance to each property and projecting bays are located to the ends of terraces providing focal points. There are a number of house types which assist in the articulation of the terraces and corner junctions contributing to the external sense of enclosure between the properties. The larger communal areas are landscaped with mature trees.

OS Maps 1954 prior to development compared to current layout
Development boundary indicated on OS Maps 1954 prior to development compared to current layout

Planning/ Scheme of Management

The estate is set within the Holland Park Conservation area the houses are considered neutral in character, blending into the townscape by virtue of their form, scale or materials, but due to their level of design fail to make a positive contribution. However a scheme of management operated by the freeholder ensures alterations are sympathetic to the original design maintaining the original appearance. Features such as garage doors are retained along with the glazing and cladding details.

Communal Gardens

Alterations

Originally the layouts incorporated garages and bedrooms to the ground floor and external stairs to the rear linking the private gardens to the living spaces at first floor. The houses were originally heated via a convection air system with a service riser supplying all floors. These have largely disappeared with more common forms of heating systems installed. The practical layouts provide a flexible template which can be adapted to alternative arrangements creating large open plan spaces. Some occupants have constructed new basement levels and added extensions to the rear gardens.

 

Woodsford Square is an unusual example of 1960’s architecture which is heavily influence by the historic squares of the city. The provision of generous communal landscaping helps define a characteristic development which is unapologetically modern and has stood the test of time. Mark Fairhurst Architects have designed a number of alterations to houses within the estate, if you would like to discuss this or other projects please contact us to arrange a call.

Bibliography

The Architecture of Edwin Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew (Ashgate 2014)

Holland Park Conservation Area Appraisal, Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (2017)

Photos RIBApix

Links: https://www.mark-fairhurst.co.uk/architecture-portfolio/house-refurbishment-woodsford-square-w14/