The derelict and neglected site of the old Middlesex University in Ponders End, North London was identified by Enfield Council as a space with significant regeneration potential with scope for new housing and civic facilities that could bring new character and economic activity to the local high street. With plans by the council to build c.1000 homes over the next 10 year period, our masterplan of 408 dwellings makes a significant contribution to the local North East Area Action Plan and recasts an important piece local heritage back into the neighbourhood.
Ponders End has a long and notable industrial past with the Swan Electric Light Company a main employer in the area for many years, and its founder, Sir Joseph Swan playing an important role in the establishment of the former university’s Grade II* Broadbent Building. It is this heritage and the building’s proud civic contribution that our masterplan builds upon today, through the re‑provision of a local library and the creation of a nursery and social spaces, alongside new homes.
Our masterplan creates a confident frontage along Ponders End High Street, with 6‑and 8‑storey residential mixed‑use buildings and new public spaces that extend to connect neighbouring terraces of 3‑storey family townhouses and a courtyard of four apartment buildings. Play and social spaces are woven through the neighbourhood within 4‑storey apartment buildings to the east with recreational spaces at roof level. Along the north of our plan is a new east‑west street with a terrace of homes designed to reflect the local grain of suburban streets and enabling new links between the Broadbent Building and the high street through a north‑south public path. Where this route meets the high street it opens out to a new public area that creates space for people to linger away from busy road while creating a dialogue between the taller of the two high street buildings and the local landmark of the Enfield Islamic Centre.
Within a setting of historic and interwar buildings, we have designed a diverse collection of contemporary brick buildings that are relatively efficient and straightforward in their form and expression, with pre‑cast concrete used to articulate the base of the taller, high street buildings and projecting building surrounds and balconies that carry this material throughout the masterplan. Brick pavers run through the public spaces and the streets, interspersed with street trees, and communal seating, forming a community‑focussed landscape that works well with the architecture and ties all the buildings together.