Highbury Square, North London Residential Building, Arsenal Property Design

Highbury Square London

Arsenal Stadium Redevelopment, UK – design by Allies and Morrison Architects

16 Dec 2009

Highbury Square

Date built: 2009

Design: Allies and Morrison Architects


The conversion of London’s iconic Highbury stadium into a residential scheme is complete.

Architects Allies and Morrison were appointed to the project in 2003 by Vision Four development on behalf of owners Arsenal Football Club. Their resulting 50,495 sq m scheme retains the characteristics of the former stadium and is the first of its kind in Europe. With an approximate value of £170 million, the completed project is an exemplar for similar stadium redevelopment.

Highbury Square The Square ; Landscaped pitch
Highbury Square Highbury Square London Highbury Square Project
photos : Dennis Gilbert

The design retains the Art Deco facades of the stadium’s original Grade II listed East Stand and (locally listed) West Stand and converts them into residential blocks, using their existing four metre structural grids to create apartments. It then adds new, shallower blocks with internal residential courtyards to the remaining two sides of the former pitch, which is transformed into a landscaped garden. In so doing, the design retains the size and sense of the sports arena but embeds it into a smaller scale context, generating a new type of urban infill for London.

The garden pays tribute to the former pitch and is the focal point of the development. A simple rectilinear space, it has been abstracted into a complex grid of planting and water features, designed in conjunction with Christopher Bradley-Hole Landscape. Planted with wild grasses and hedgerows set out on a tartan grid and punctuated by decorative features of glass encased, illuminated water walls, the garden also includes a Memorial Garden, where the ashes of over 500 Arsenal supporters are buried.

Away from the central garden, the north and south blocks form a series of six garden courts. The visual links created between these more intimate spaces and the garden encourage residents to feel ownership of the development as an addition to London’s strong tradition of garden squares.

A high-density development, Highbury Square offers 197.5 units (or dwellings) per hectare (725 units/ 3.67h) concentrated in a highly accessible location close to the Arsenal Underground station and within proximity of London’s King’s Cross-, an area designated for massive regeneration. Its courtyard nature and shared spaces (including a nursery, a fitness center with a 20m swimming pool, a retail unit and a play area), however, encourage the growth of community in the scheme and wider neighbourhood.

The project has excellent sustainability credentials. Designed to achieve an EcoHomes ‘Very Good’ rating, it has one of the largest solar heating arrays in Europe, which is accommodated on the extensive South Stand roof area and is capable of integration with future off-site systems. This is linked to a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system at basement level that supplies heating and hot water to the whole development via individual heat exchangers. The electricity generated supplies the power for external lighting and residents’ common areas. These and other measures are calculated to reduce CO2 emissions by 22% over the baseline scheme.

Highbury Square South Stand:
Highbury Square Building
picture : Paul Riddle

Denning Male Polisano (DMP) Architects were the construction architects for the project and oversaw its practical completion, working closely with Allies and Morrison Architects.

The design has already won two MIPIM Awards, the Future Project Award (Residential Category) 2003, and a Special Jury Award this year, 2009.

Highbury Square Property – Building Information

Highbury Square – Professional Team

Client/ Developer: Highbury Holdings Ltd/ Vision Four Developments Ltd
Property Agents: Savills (L&P) Ltd
Architect: Allies and Morrison
Construction Architect: Denning Male Polisano
Structural Engineer: Buro Happold
Services Engineer: Hoare Lea
Quantity Surveyor and Project Manager: Arcadis-AYH
Landscape Architect: Christopher Bradley-Hole Landscape
Planning Consultants: Savills Hepher Dixon (London)
Historic Building Consultants: Purcell Miller Tritton
Main Contractor: Sir Robert McAlpine

Residential Redevelopment of the former Arsenal Stadium

Location: off Avenell Road, Islington, north London
Nearest Tube Stations: Arsenal, Holloway Road, Highbury & Islington

Highbury Square image / information received 161209

Allies & Morrison

Location: Highbury Square, London, England, UK

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Highbury Square Context

Buildings close by to Highbury Square include:

Emirates Stadium
HOK Sport – now Populous
Arsenal Stadium Building
photo © Nick Weall
Emirates Stadium

Centre for Lifelong Learning, Blackstock Rd, Finsbury Park, north London
Wilkinson Eyre Architects
Centre for Lifelong Learning Islington
photograph © Nick Weall
Centre for Lifelong Learning Islington

Graduate Centre
Daniel Libeskind Architects
Graduate Centre London
photograph © Nick Weall
Graduate Centre

North London Buildings

London Architecture

Major London Project by Allies and Morrison Architects

Royal Festival Hall Building Redevelopment
Leslie Martin, architect
Royal Festival Hall
photo © Dennis Gilbert

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