Charles Holland Architects — Islington Square

Islington Square

An engagement-led process to develop affordable housing

The design of Islington Square – a development of twenty-three houses for social rent in Manchester – involved a pioneering process of engagement with its future residents.

The project was led by Charles Holland, then a Director of FAT, who ran a series of engagement workshops as well as the detail design and delivery of the final scheme. FAT had been unanimously selected by the residents as well as representatives from developers Urban Splash and Housing Association Great Places to design the houses which formed the first phase of the New Islington development on the edge of Manchester’s Ancoats district.

Charles worked closely with the residents, visiting them in their existing houses to develop the brief and organising a fact-finding trip to Holland to look at contemporary social housing in Amsterdam. Over forty members of the existing Cardroom estate in Ancoats came on the trip which included visits to both Buro Sporenburg and Yippenburg housing estates. This trip proved to be key in opening up conversations around housing design, typology and character that informed subsequent design workshops.

Out of this highly innovative process, emerged a unique design which combined aspects of many different housing types. The scheme won a number of awards including Regeneration Partnership of the Year in 2006, a reflection of its collaborative and inclusive approach.

Islington Square is a FAT project.

Charles Holland Architects — Islington Square