Clapton Business Centre

This sensitive redevelopment of a back-land site provides a vibrant, mixed-use, creative hub in the heart of Clapton. The proposal brings together the refurbished lower ground space of the building facing Downs Road, with a new high quality mixed use ‘mews’ development, centred on a landscaped courtyard.

The scheme seeks to significantly improve the environment through a sustainable design solution, whilst providing spaces which are more compatible with the surrounding residential, office and community uses.

Client: Private
Planning Granted: 2019
Location: Hackney, London


This well-connected site is part of a dense urban block, comprising of an existing mixed use building and a rear yard with a patchwork of ad hoc, single storey commercial garages.

The site is located within a Conservation Area and within close proximity to neighbouring properties. The design sensitively considers the existing buildings and mitigates overlooking and loss of amenity.

Clapton has a rich, multi-layered urban landscape. This development provides the opportunity to refurbish parts of the existing building and provide a new, appropriately-scaled contemporary addition to the rear.

This redevelopment unifies the site both aesthetically and practically, whilst respecting it’s long-standing history of use as commercial premises.

A mixed use, creative hub
Design Principles: Courtyard, Stacking and Skylights (left to right)

Three core design principles provided a starting point for developing this compact site for a range of uses. The courtyard, combining living and working and daylighting on a site which has very close proximity to it’s neighbours.


The central landscaped courtyard provides amenity and encourages a strong sense of community between the existing/future residents. The courtyard also gives the opportunity to orientate windows away from neighbours to provide multiple aspect, day-lit spaces and introduce greenery to the site. This space offers a tranquil connection to nature, away from Downs Road.


Workspace is provided in the new flexible, self-contained units to the rear of the site, mirroring the workspace in the refurbished basement of the existing building. This functions as a flexible business model, with three workspaces which can be let individually or as one.

A single apartment is stacked above the workspace, bridging across to provide a covered entrance to the workspaces below.


Utilising top-lit spaces was key to providing good daylighting to the residential space, whilst ensuring privacy.

Proposed Ground Floor Plan
Proposed First Floor Plan
Proposed Section
Sustainable Development

In-line with SWA’s ethos, the client’s aspiration is for a sustainably built and environmentally friendly building. The building has been designed to provide an air-tight and well insulated external envelope, with details and construction methods utilised to minimise thermal bridging.

Our aim is that all materials used on this scheme will be sustainably-sourced and specified to have minimal impact on the environment, both in their manufacture and throughout their lifetime.

A simple pared-down palette of materials have been proposed, with textured concrete providing thermal mass to the ground floor of the new building and lightweight timber vertical boarding above.

Other light-weight materials are used to accent a feature. The covered entrance to the workspaces and the apartment above is clad in perforated Cor-ten steel providing a strong visual contrast, and focal point. The external surfacing unites the courtyard with the enlarged light well on Downs Road.

We believe in working from first principles to reduce energy demand by focusing on passive environmental design.

The new development will be car-free, supporting sustainable transport.

The proposed landscaped courtyard presents an opportunity to re-introduce habitats for birds and insects to the area. Courtyard planting and a wild flower green roof to the new building will provide biodiversity and sustainable drainage.