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Old Royal Free Square
Circle 33 Housing Trust and New Islington & Hackney Housing Association
Site Area
Number of homes
Homes per hectare
Local authority
London Borough of Islington
Civic Trust Award 1993 - Winner
Europa Nostra Award 1993 - Winner
RIBA Regional Housing Award 1993 - Winner
Civic Trust 1992 - Special Award
Islington Society Award 1992 - Winner

This project transformed a redundant hospital into a major public space and a thriving residential community.

The four-acre site was developed by Circle 33 Housing Trust and New Islington & Hackney Housing Association. PTE transformed the front part of the site, which includes both new and Grade II listed buildings, while Levitt Bernstein Associates redeveloped the rear half of the site.

The 182 new homes include small flats, family houses and a complete sheltered scheme for the elderly. Some are painstakingly inserted behind the retained facades and others form new pavilion blocks, which create a grand forecourt with converted gate lodges. At the heart of the development is a new London square with a pedestrian link to the centre of Islington.

John Cowan, writing in The Architects' Journal said

Old Royal Free Square represents urban renewal at its best.

Don't confuse innovation with novelty
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© Pollard Thomas Edwards

Don't confuse innovation with novelty