Hackney Gardens

Award winning homes in Hackney

Hackney, London
58 Homes
Community, Homes
Hackney, London
58 Homes
Community, Homes
Thornsett Group / London Diocese
Design, Delivery
Completed 2020

This community-led project responds to the Local Authority Area Action Plan. Careful examination of the site’s constraints resulted in the development of a bespoke narrative-driven design that is both contextual and contemporary, creating a sense of place and an exceptional place to live.

Comprising three buildings near the Grade II listed St John at Hackney Church, it offers 58 dwellings addressing local housing needs. The project also includes a new community hall, separate facilities for the local Scouts and a children’s nursery.

01 Approach to Design

In-keeping with the scheme’s key design principles all buildings maintain a height below the church’s cornice, we utilised the natural site levels to add an extra floor across the development which significantly contributed to the scheme’s viability. Consideration of existing mature trees, the natural urban grain, and the need for enhanced natural surveillance guided the project’s development alongside the desire to maintain key views through the site.  

The introduction of ‘Prodigal Square’ enhances connectivity and views, integrating public, private, and community spaces while enhancing views of the church, enriching the overall sense of place – linking Mare Street to the church and surrounding park. The project unifies commercial areas, historic landmarks, and residential spaces, enhancing Hackney’s urban fabric.

02 Materials

The site’s adjacency to a Grade 2 listed church heavily influenced the architectural and material choices. Careful consideration is given to harmonising with the church’s historic significance and architectural style. Materials are selected to complement the church’s aesthetic, ensuring visual continuity and respect for its heritage. This thoughtful approach not only enhances the development’s visual appeal but also preserves the cultural and historical fabric of the surrounding area, creating a seamless integration between old and new. 


The apartments are split between two new buildings, situated off Prodigal Square, a new, semi-public space at the heart of the development. Each residence features outdoor space, with a diverse range of layouts catering to various occupants. A focal point of the development is the community/third sector hub building located to the north of the site, providing versatile public space for year-round community activities. Designed with flexibility in mind, it also accommodates educational programmes and serves as a new home for the Scouts. 


03 Community and Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholder engagement with the London Diocese, Scouts, and Hackney Council was integral to the development process. Close collaboration ensured alignment with the Diocese’s interests, respecting any considerations regarding the church and its surroundings. Involvement with the Scouts facilitated their relocation, addressing their needs while optimising community benefits. Hackney Council’s input helped navigate regulatory requirements and ensure the project met local housing needs and planning standards. This comprehensive engagement approach fostered transparency, trust, and collective commitment to delivering a development that serves the broader community’s interests while honouring specific stakeholder concerns. 

04 Delivery

1:1 scale sample panels were built on-site to ensure that the final result aligned with the original intent. Material choices were key in creating a contextual scheme, as well as ensuring robustness and environmental impact 

Project team


The Pineapples Awards Place of the year Shortlisted 2022
Housing Design Awards Winner 2021
Civic Trust Awards Finalist 2021
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