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Old Royal Free Square


Client Circle 33 Housing Trust and New Islington & Hackney Housing Association

Site area 1.6

Number of homes 182

Homes per hectare 165

Local authority London Borough of Islington

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."


  • 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