"One of east London's finest Modernist buildings, thought to have been inspired by Alvar Aalto's Finnish masterpiece, Paimio."
This beautifully preserved apartment is located on the first floor of one of east London’s finest Modernist buildings, Bruno Court. Designed by the noted architects Burnet, Tait & Lorne, Bruno Court was built in 1935-36 as an extension to the existing German Hospital and is believed to have been inspired by Alvar Aalto’s Paimio Sanatorium in Finland. The building overlooks Fassett Square, a charming Victorian garden a short walk from Dalston Junction. The hospital was closed in 1987 and converted to private residences in the late 1990s. Bruno Court is now Grade II-listed in recognition of its architectural significance.
This particular apartment is positioned on the first floor of the block, overlooking Fassett Square. Two bedrooms are positioned at one end of the apartment, one is currently configured as a designer’s workshop. Both rooms have double height ceilings and original Crittal windows, which have been painted a signature shade of aqua-marine on the exterior of the building. The open-plan kitchen and living room can be found at the end of a short corridor and is bathed in wonderful levels of natural light. The living space has original storage spaces built into the wall, while the kitchen has been re-designed and hand-crafted by the current owner. Original floorboards run throughout the apartment. A family bathroom has also been re-fitted, in keeping with the apartment’s mid-century aesthetic.
There is lift access to the communal roof of the building, which has panoramic views across the city, as well as a beautiful semi-circular concrete awning in the art deco style.
Uniquely, this apartment comes with one parking space in a gated private area at the rear of the building.
Fassett Square is a quiet enclave of buildings (predominantly Victorian houses) grouped around a pretty private garden. All residents have a key to the square. Nearby Hackney Downs station runs regular trains to Liverpool Street, and Dalston Junction links to Highbury & Islington, Shoreditch High Street and Canada Water on the East London Line. There are also bus routes along Graham Road. London Fields is a short walk to the south, including Broadway Market. All of the nightlife and conveniences of Dalston are within easy reach.
Tenure: Leasehold with Share of Freehold
Lease length: approx. 115 years
Service charge: approx. £2,700 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.
The extension to the German Hospital in Dalston was carried out to account for an increased demand for beds after the First World War. Burnet, Tait and Lorne were allowed an unprecedented level of creative freedom and the result is this wonderful example of an uncompromising mid-century style.
It is widely believed that the most significant architectural influence for the building was Alvar Aalto’s Tuberculosis Sanatorium at Paimio in Finland. Aalto is renowned for his approach to buildings as ‘Gesamtkunstwerks’ or total works of art; Aalto would design every element down to the door handles and handrails, so that the entire space would cohere to his vision.
The German Hospital closed in 1987 and the building was awarded a Grade II listing one year later, in recognition of its external features (Crittal windows, concrete awnings and brickwork). It remained vacant until 1998, when it was converted into residential apartments. Fortunately, many of the original fittings and fixtures in the communal areas were preserved.
From Fassett Square, the prevailing impression is of the aqua-marine Crittal windows and a rather large concrete canopy over the entrance way. A further influence of Aalto, who was widely considered a master of brickwork, can be seen in the sand lime bricks, created by the Ryarsh Brick and Sand Company, which are laid in a bond of two stretchers to one header, a signature configuration in the work of Burnet, Tait and Lorne.
Internally the building was designed to be bright, expansive and above all hygienic. Burnet, Tait and Lorne, were perhaps inspired by Aalto’s door handles in Paimio when they stipulated that all corners were rounded to avoid accident or injury. Corridors were lined to dado height in primrose coloured Janus tiles from Germany. Floors were terrazzo in the corridors and bathrooms, and lino in the wards. The terrazzo extends up the walls of the stairwells and the original bathrooms, as well as to the sills in most of the apartments. According to Open House London, “The architects are quoted as being particularly pleased with the stairwells, where ascending flights were kept back one tread wide at landing level so as to enable the handrail to run smoothly up and round at all turns without ‘bumps’.”
The rear elevations are characterised by the profiles of the rounded balconies and sun roofs that provide a rather nice contrast to the utilitarian nature of the buildings prominent facade. The rear elevation also features a cantilevered former maternity wing, which hangs out over the floors below on two aspects and was intended to delineate the space as one of peace and calm.
Perhaps the most remarkable part of the building is the communal roof terrace. It was initially designed to allow patients a pleasant outdoor space for recovery. Now it offers residents incredible views across the city. The original Victorian hospital and grounds can also been seen from the roof, as well as an aerial perspective of Fassett Square’s gardens.