In this commission for Sainsbury's Grimshaw negotiated that residences should take the form of individual houses rather than a block of flats and the project includes 10 three-bedroom houses, a one-bedroom maisonette and a studio flat.
Located on a 10-metre-long strip of land parallel to the canal, carefully eked out by optimising lorry turning circles in the adjacent loading bay, the plot is bounded by a wall to the south to exclude vehicle noise.
The narrow site and the need to allow sunlight into living areas without south-facing windows dictated the distinctive form of the houses. At first-floor level, L-shaped open plan living spaces are top-lit; their double-height dining areas can act as external spaces, opening to a canal-facing balcony in summer months.
United by uniform building materials of dense concrete blockwork with precast concrete floors and felt-covered timber roofs, the houses are now recognised for their highly imaginative answer to an eclectic context.
These are the houses of a new age.
Martin Pawley, Guardian
It’s contemporary and incredibly practical. It suits the way we live and we love it.
Julia Hollis, Resident, Grand Union Walk
J Sainsbury plc
10,500 sq m
Jo Reid & John Peck