Alexandra & Ainsworth EstateEdit profile
strong>The Alexandra Road estate, properly known as the Alexandra and Ainsworth estate, but more commonly, and erroneously, referred to as simply Rowley Way, is a housing estate in the London Borough of Camden, North West London, England. It was designed in 1968 by Neave Brown of Camden Council's Architects Department. Construction work commenced in 1972 and was completed in 1978. It is constructed from site-cast, board-marked white, unpainted reinforced concrete. Along with 520 apartments, the site also includes a school, community centre, youth club, heating complex, and parkland.
The estate consists of three parallel east-west blocks, and occupies a crescent-shaped site bounded on the south by Boundary Road, Loudoun Road on the east, Abbey Road on the west, and by the West Coast Main Line to the north. The desire to control the sound and vibration from passing trains was a major consideration in the layout of the estate. Two rows of terraced apartments are aligned along the tracks. The higher, 8-story block directly adjacent to the railway line is organised in the form a ziggurat, and acts as a noise barrier that blocks the noise of the trains from reaching the interior portion of the site, and its foundations rest on rubber pads that eliminate vibration. A lower, 4-story block runs along the other side of a continuous pedestrian walkway, known as Rowley Way, serving both terraced rows of buildings. The third row of buildings, along the southern edge of the site, parallels another public walkway, Langtry Walk, between this row and the existing earlier buildings of the Ainsworth Estate and defines a public park with play areas between the second and third row of dwellings.
The lower 4-storey building along Rowley Way contains maisonettes with shared access, terraces, and gardens over-looking the park at the rear. Maisonettes also occupy the top two levels of the larger 8-storey building opposite, with entrance from a walkway on the 7th floor that runs the entire length of the structure. Dwellings in the lower floor in this block are entered from open stairs serving two dwellings per floor. The flat roofs of the stepped elevation provides private outdoor areas for every home. Garage parking is located beneath the building, and underneath the building at the rear alongside the railway tracks.
The estate may be seen as the culminating effort by Neave Brown to apply the principles of the London terrace house to the design of high-density public housing on an enormous scale. The five houses on Winscombe Street, built in 1967, were his first experiment with the terrace type. The Fleet Road project, begun about the same time and consisting of 71 houses, a shop, and a studio, arranged in parallel terraced rows, was a further application of the idea. The estate received much criticism during and after its construction because of its enormous cost, caused by the complicated nature of its construction, unforeseen foundation problems, and general inflation. Scenes of the estate under construction can be seen in a 1976 episode of the TV series "The Sweeney".
The estate was granted Grade II* listed status on 18 August 1993.