Double Take


James Matthews explores four born-again developments transformed from past commercial prowess into future residential goldmines

When it comes to renowned commercial sites in London, nowhere has made more of a mark than White City, the home of the BBC. Now the hub has opened up to the city, as a ground-breaking residential investment opportunity.

Designed by architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM), the distinctive residences have taken inspiration from Television Centre’s Mid-Century Modern design, all sensitively reimagined to provide intelligent and comfortable homes that cater perfectly to contemporary living.

The development is both respectful to the original, while updating it significantly for the present day, retaining an important BBC presence while opening it up to the whole of London.

“A cultural icon and landmark piece of modern architecture, it was important to reinvent Television Centre as an integral part of the local area and create a new, but recognisable place to live, work and play,” says Alistair Shaw, managing director of Television Centre.

“The project is at the heart of a £8 billion ten-year regeneration of the wider White City area, which has formed a new hub of activity, creativity and academia in west London. A thriving neighbourhood welcomes the arrival of new shops, restaurants and educational facilities, as well as the creation of up to 4,000 new homes, over two million square feet of offi ce space and 20,000 new jobs.”

The project is packed full of amenities for residents and the general public, including Homeslice, Patty & Bun and White City House, the newest Soho House members’ club in London, complete with a 45-bedroom hotel, large-scale gym and a public bar, The Allis.

“This is one of the largest and most complex residentialled mixed-use schemes in London and we have truly raised the bar to create a world-class destination for people,” adds Alistair. Property prices start from £750,000



For more than a century, Chelsea Barracks was home to the country’s most decorated military regiments, survived two world wars and a bombing campaign before being left derelict in the early 21st century.

With such a noble history, preserving those heritage roots has been at the heart of the redevelopment of this iconic site with foremost UAE developer, Qatari Diar, at the helm.

The project is quite simply unique,” says Richard Oakes, Executive Director at Qatari Diar. “Out of public reach for over 150 years the Barracks opens up an area of formerly concealed land to once again bridge Belgravia with Chelsea.

“As part of this, we’ve retained a number of original features including the Chelsea Barracks name and the restoration of the Grade II listed Chapel - the window of which inspired the Chelsea Barracks emblem.”

The ambitious project comprises six phases, including building 440 new homes – including 64 apartments, three penthouses and 13 townhouses, as well as a string of amenities including restaurants and retail opportunities.

Comprising 12.8 acres - of which five acres will be dedicated entirely to garden squares and public space – the development forms a contemporary London community built upon London’s heritage of garden squares.

“Redeveloping the most coveted 12.8 acres in the world and establishing an entirely new neighbourhood within London’s most esteemed and historic enclave is an immense undertaking,” Richard adds. “It’s imperative we get it right, and we will continue to work to ensure that we not only provide the very best homes, but that we preserve the incredible ancestry of this site.” Prices on application.



Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas. These are just some of the esteemed directors who once sat in the screening room at Denham Film Studios for the final cuts of movies that changed the scope of cinema forever.

The legacy of this historic hub built in 1936 and designed by Walter Gropius for movie producer and studio founder Alexander Korda, lives on in a new form, as the former studios and film lab has been transformed into a top-tier residential community.

The 10.7-acre development provides one of the most unique, fun and historical housing projects in the UK.

Paying homage to its glamorous past with its Art Deco design and movie-themed features, the project features 49 apartments and a limited-edition collection of high-end townhouses, as well as a movie museum and Art Deco cocktail bar.

“We restored several aspects of the site in order to retain its cinematic heritage and complimented them with newly built townhouses and apartments. The newly-built townhouses have been designed to be in-keeping with the original architecture of the site,” says Bob Weston, Chairman of Weston Homes, developers of the site. “The project was a considerable challenge, but this was carefully planned over a five-year period by the team at Weston Homes to hit the mark with perfection.”

Bob adds: “With such a site, it’s important that a balance is struck in not only providing state-of-the-art homes which cater to modern day life, but that also pay homage to the location heritage and history – we believe that the Denham Film Studios is a fine example.” Prices start from £399,995.



London has for centuries been a captain of industry across the globe, and its eye-catching infrastructure is a constant reminder of that bold past. Time has moved onto pastures new, meaning many of these former structures are no longer required, especially as the nation moves towards an ethos of greener energy.

Thanks to a keen eye for design and heritage, Wilkinson Eyre has retained some of this history in its transformation of a trio of Victorian gasholder frames at London’s King’s Cross into luxury apartments with interiors by Jonathan Tuckey Design.

“Designed by one of the world’s leading architectural practices, Gasholders London offers the chance to live at a landmark address immersed in heritage, with the ease and comfort of a custom-designed modern space,” says Rachel Jones, residential marketing manager at Argent. “Their concept has created an equilibrium between the refurbished triplet of Grade II-listed, cast iron gasholder guide frames and contemporary architecture that is deserving of such a unique heritage.”

The project forms part of the Allies and Morrisondesigned masterplan for a 27-hectare site around King’s Cross station in north London, which also includes a millennial-pink office block by Duggan Morris Architects and a Thomas Heatherwick-designed shopping centre.

Three housing blocks – boasting 145 distinctive apartments - follow the cylindrical form of the original wrought-iron frames, which date from the 1860s, but have been dismantled, repaired and re-erected on the site.

“The triplet of Grade II-listed, cast iron gasholder guide frames have long been unique landmarks for visitors to King’s Cross, Rachel adds. “As such we have been uncompromising in our conviction that any development would need to both retain the industrial aesthetic and historical integrity of the site and enliven the area.”

The scheme also provides residents with access to a private gym and spa, a business lounge and an entertainment suite with screening room, games room, private dining room and private rooftop gardens. Prices start from £825,000.


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