Architect: Paxton Locher

Corsica Street
London N5

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An immaculately presented 3-bedroom apartment just off Highbury Fields, designed by the eminent architects Paxton Locher.

Accommodation amounts to approximately 1,650 sq ft. On the ground floor is an entrance hall (with hanging space for coats), leading to a reception room and open-plan kitchen / dining room. This double-height space has huge windows and is ideal for entertaining. Also on the ground floor is a bedroom with en-suite shower room, a cloakroom, and a large utility / larder off the reception room.

From the kitchen, a glass and steel spiral staircase leads up to a mezzanine study area of structural glass, fronted with climbing plants. Also on the first floor are two double bedrooms, each with en-suite bathrooms and large windows that overlook the main living space.

The apartment forms part of a building that was converted into offices and flats by Paxton Locher in the 1990s. It is quietly located on Corsica Street, and is accessed via an electrically operated shutter gate. This particular apartment is situated at the rear, with views of the handsome Georgian houses on Highbury Place.

Paxton Locher have gained a reputation for turning difficult sites into spectacularly inventive homes for both themselves and their clients. These are characterised by their large, light living spaces, overlooked from first-floor level through glazed panels. Climbing plants are used on internal walls to bring the outdoors in, and steel and glass are the primary materials.

Highbury & Islington Underground station (Victoria Line) is nearby, and buses run regularly to Angel Underground station (Northern Line). Upper Street, with its popular bars, restaurants and shops, is within easy walking distance. More local shops are available at Highbury Barn, and there is a deli on Corsica Street itself. The apartment is just around the corner from the open spaces of Highbury Fields.

Tenure: Leasehold
Lease: 999 years from June 1990
Service charge: £1,718.40 per annum

Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. The Modern House has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.


History

The late Richard Paxton studied architecture at Kingston University, and went on to work in the offices of Ahrends, Burton & Koralek, where he was involved in the design of the Cummins Diesel Factory in Scotland and the Sainsbury’s supermarket in Canterbury. In 1985 he established his own practice with his future wife, Heidi Locher, who had formerly worked for Terence Conran.

Paxton Locher have been responsible for the design of the Soho Theatre and the Jerwood Space in Southwark, but perhaps their most significant contribution to architecture has been the imaginative domestic projects they have undertaken both for themselves and for distinguished clients (including Douglas Adams and Griff Rhys Jones). Notable among these is a house in Clerkenwell (pictured) and others in Primrose Hill and Hampstead.

They acquired and developed the building on Corsica Street in the 1990s, converting it into seven flats. The penthouse apartment they designed for themselves, with its ingenious swimming pool, is one of the most iconic of the period. The flat being sold here, on the ground floor, was originally an office for the Paxton Locher practice. Heidi Locher converted it into an apartment for her own use in recent years.

In an article in Grand Designs, Kevin McCloud wrote of Paxton’s work “…above all else, what impresses me is how Richard understood the idea of enclosure. For him walls didn’t exist to support the roof but to provide shelter and comfort. He knew how to articulate the shapes in a building to make you feel relaxed, nurtured and protected. He understood that great Corbusian truth, that the business of architecture is to create relationships: with a building, with people and with the world at large.”


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Paxton Locher

Richard Paxton (1956-2006) studied at Kingston University, before working at Ahrends, Burton & Koralek, where he was involved in the design of the Cummins Diesel Factory in Scotland. In 1985 he established his own practice with his future wife, Heidi Locher, who had formerly worked for Terence Conran. The pair designed both the Soho Theatre and the Jerwood Space in Southwark. However, they are best remembered for the significant domestic projects they undertook both for themselves and for distinguished clients, including Douglas Adams and Griff Rhys Jones. Paxton Locher made expert use of restricted sites, maximising space in inventive ways, and many of their houses take their natural light from above via retractable roofs.

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