See architectural images, drawings and data in the AJ Buildings Library at http://www.ajbuildingslibrary.co.uk/projects/display/id/1834
The Alexandra Road estate is a low-rise, high-density, mixed-use development designed by Neave Brown for Camden's Architects' Department. It was planned to include housing for 1660 people in 520 dwellings of various sizes, a tenants' hall, underground parking, shops, workshops for the council's building department, a school for children with learning difficulties, a children's reception centre, residential accommodation for young physically disabled people (demolished in 1999) and a public open space. A youth club was later added to the brief.
Planning permission for the housing estate was granted in 1968. Demolition of existing houses on the site commenced in 1970 and building works in 1972, partial completion was in 1978 and full occupation by 1979.
13(b) ROWLEY WAY is a two-bedroom maisonette occupying the two upper storeys of a unit in the four-storey concrete terrace situated to the right from the Abbey Road end. The concept for the long curving street has been described by Elain Harwood as “Georgian terraces in modern dress” and by others in less complimentary terms, but many of the residents find it an interesting or even inspiring place to live.
Entrance to the maisonette is via an uncovered stairway from street level. Inside, the bedrooms, bathroom and store cupboard are placed to the left of the staircase, divided from the small hall by a sliding panel. Original features include an ingenious radiant wall heating system, floor-to-ceiling-height doors, built-in cupboards in the main bedroom and wooden stairs and banisters leading to the living room. This is separated from the dining/kitchen area by sliding panels to the right of the stairs, which allow for an open plan arrangement or for the two sections to be closed off as required.
The kitchen still has original wooden cupboards and tiles and is partly walled off to head height, a feature which (like the sliding panels) has been removed from some of the other flats on the estate. This side of the dwelling looks out over the extensive area of trees and open space at the back of the terrace.
The window frames retain mainly the original wood and it was to prevent them from being replaced by UPVC and to preserve generally the original appearance of the estate that it was spot-listed as Grade II* in 1993. It is also part of a wider Conservation Area.
The living and kitchen/dining rooms are located on the top storey as a design feature to make the best use of natural light. A step made of wooden slats runs along the length of the living room windows and door. These give access to the patio or 'outdoor room', which is screened along the balcony front by frosted glass panels and faces the higher terrace across the pedestrian roadway.
Alexandra Road Park
Alexandra Road Park is a neighbourhood public park, located in the heart of the Alexandra and Ainsworth community. It forms a green oasis in a built up urban area of inner London, and is a rare and highly acclaimed example of late 20th Century landscape design. The park area is 4 acres including footpaths (of which 3 acres are the only Designated Open Space on the estate). An important aspect of the park is that it is at the centre (and designed in conjunction with) the wider landscape of the 16.2 acre Alexandra and Ainsworth estate, with the park connecting to several adjacent plaza spaces, which create entrance areas connecting it to the wider estate.
The park, an east-west swathe of green space between two long blocks of the estate was designed by Janet Jack (1972-8) in conjunction with Neave Brown's new housing. The park cannot be uncoupled from the housing and together they are a highly valued example of landscaping and architecture from the period of rebuilding (1960s/70s) of post-war London.
The value of the park's original design to the community goes beyond the fundamental concern for heritage: the community has given overwhelming support to retain and rejuvenate the original character of the landscape and is leading several initiatives to implement this vision. Members of the Alexandra and Ainsworth Tenants and Residents Association (TRA) in collaboration with officers from Camden Council (collectively, The Alexandra Road Park Group) have recently succeeded in gaining a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop full plans for the regeneration of the park.