Alexandra Road Estate is beautiful in its clever use of indoor and outdoor space, light and access routes. Its vast grey concrete mass was bound to cause waves.
And cause waves it has - and still does.
Concrete is the Marmite of the built environment. These flats are highly desirable and are sold for a whole lotta coin, yet are deemed unappealing to buyers in the eyes of lenders, which means THEY ARE BOUGHT STRAIGHT UP WITH ££££££££££££££££££££££££
Designed in 1968 by modernist architect Neave Brown and located a stone’s throw away from that Abbey Road crossing (made famous when the Beatles traversed its zebra), the estate announces its presence in NW in its sombre horizontality, rising up to four floors.
Mostly occupied by council tenants, who can buy their homes from the local authority after 10-year residency, privately-owned flats are selling for bucket loads, especially considering lenders are not providing mortgages on the estate. WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT?
Because it is (wrongly) deemed to be an unattractive place to live due to its - yep, you guessed it - concrete!
I visited these two flats when they were on the market, and this is what I found:
This two-bed was bought by an architect seven years ago. With his wife, he raised two small children here (the eldest of which he named Neave), before deciding to move to the ‘burbs.
Sensitively restored and maintained, the architect preserved many original features, such as the internal moveable partitions and the timber stairs, adding LEDS under the treads.
Stencilled in multicoloured lettering beneath a light switch by the front entrance reads “HOUSE OF FUN” - a nice touch.
On the market for £375K, the property was snapped up by a dogged buyer, and sure lover of concrete, for ‘significantly above asking price’.
Clearly, lenders have got it all wrong.
This flat (below) is on the market for £275K, a one-bed close to the railway line. It was bought three months ago by the current owner for £80K less… Mental, eh.
Note the kitchen’s original sliding cabinet doors and brown tiling.
Although only 500 sq ft, the flat felt bigger due to large glazing, opening out onto a south-facing balcony.
Oooh, say what, say what, say what?