Gordon Benson and Alan Forsyth
Maiden Lane Estate, St Paul’s Crescent, Camden NW1. Designed by Gordon Benson and Alan Forsyth for Camden Architects’ Department. Built 1979–82.
The last major Camden housing development and the last to be commissioned by borough architect Sydney Cook who during his eight-year tenure, 1965–73, had overseen a hugely ambitious building programme of unsurpassed quality and scale. This large estate comprises 225 dwellings bounded to the south and west by railway lines and to the north by Agar Grove and the east by York Way. The white painted terraces of Corbusian-inspired architecture run north to south in parallel blocks. Stepping down the gently sloping site, they also display the influence of Atelier 5’s Siedlung Halen housing near Berne, Switzerland. The railed terraces, turreted rounded stairwells and spiral steps have a distinctly nautical feel. Access to the estate, built on a former rail goods yard, was limited by ongoing planning issues, and a changing political and economic climate resulting in a sense of isolation. Years of neglect have taken its toll and the estate is undergoing regeneration. Parts on the York Way side of the estate have already been demolished and redeveloped to designs by PRP Architects.