David Lyndon, Co-Director at Lyndon Goode Architects, talks The Resident through the regeneration of Archway High Street. Staying true to Archway’s affinity with small independent stores, the fading facades of the area have been brought back to life
In partnership with Islington Council as part of a £2m grant fund, Lyndon Goode Architects were tasked with restoring parts of Junction Road and St John’s Way in Archway by bringing back classic elements woven with a modern approach. But instead of giving big chain stores the green light, effectively pricing local small business owners off the high street, Lyndon Goode worked with the nearby business community to help them realise their goals.
‘My business partner Simon [Goode] is a local resident and he’s always interested in local projects,’ says David Lyndon, Co-Director of Lyndon Goode. ‘He found out about the grant fund when he popped into the Map Gift Shop and somebody was talking about the regeneration scheme put in place by the council. So of course we got in touch and got put on the list of potential architects the council might partner with.
‘We knocked on every door along the High Street, Junction Road and Holloway Road, talked with lots of people and even made mini leaflets. Two other architects were involved with the regeneration in the end, but we were responsible for the bulk of it, in collaboration with the Islington Regeneration Department.’
With £400,000 up for grabs, the shop owners who signed up for the scheme only had to bear 20% of the costs while the council paid the remaining 80%. The Second Chance charity shop, Absolute Print, Map Gift Shop, a boutique Italian restaurant and a small kebab shop were among those Lyndon Goode restored, revived and brought into the 21st century.
‘When researching, we came across a lot of photographs of the area from when they first started constructing the Northern Line at the turn of the century,’ says Lyndon. ‘We’re always very interested in the history of the sites that we work on, especially within London because its historical fabric is so rich, especially architecturally. We used a lot of the history of the local buildings to guide us when it came to the design of each individual shop project. It’s nice to have that link to the past.’
We came across a lot of photographs of the area from when they first started constructing the Northern Line at the turn of the century. We’re always very interested in the history of the sites that we work on
The Map Gift Shop was formerly a butchers a century, so to bring a slice of the building’s past to the forefront, Lyndon and his team installed hooks around the interior walls as a nod to the butchers meat hooks that clad the walls of the original store. They also restored the building’s exterior curve as a further whisper to a bygone era.
Archway roundabout is currently in the process of being pedestrianised so there is easy access to the amenities surrounding the station. The Second Chance charity shop sits along an island of shops directly opposite Archway station, in keeping with the store’s affinity with reusing and recycling goods, Lyndon Goode Architects applied this waste-not culture to the interior of the store.
‘We found this old sort of pub panelling in the basement and we used this along with scaffolding boards to make up all the furniture,’ explains Lyndon. ‘We cut the pub panelling into tiles to make up the cashier’s area; it has this interesting embossed detailing, which meant that the finished product looked really great.
‘We also used old ladders along the ceiling to hang lighting from, along with fruit crates as storage on the walls. The whole interior project was hugely sustainable and that’s why we did it – we wanted to align the make over with the business’ ethos.’
On the outside, they restored all the brass detailing and joinery, along with splitting the shop into two parts externally, just as it was traditionally.
Those in the know are putting their bets on rising house prices in N9 as the area is set for a brand new square, new road systems and a revamped station. Archway was originally known as Archway Highgate, and the area is shifting towards a ‘Lower Highgate’ of sorts. Transport for London have their sights set on creating two-way streets and effective cycle lanes around the central retail island, with work set to be completed this year. Vantage Point is hot stuff when it comes to residential property in Archway and interest in the build-to-rent scheme has been skyrocketing.
Despite soaring house prices and the area’s ever-changing identity, many local independent boutiques have stood the test of time, becoming an integral part of the Archway tapestry – something that Lyndon Goode Architects sensitively tapped into rather than obliterating.