Omega Works

Every city is a ghost. New buildings rise upon the bones of the old so that each shiny steel beam, each tower of brick carries within it the memories of what has gone before, an architectural haunting.

Libba Bray

Omega Works is a site with a rich history.
The site, which expanded significantly during the 1910s and 20s, actually began life as a factory that was in industrial use for a large portion of the 20th century.

Notably in 1935 the site was the home of the Challen piano factory, and it was here that the then world’s largest piano was made, measuring at 11 feet 8 inches and weighing over one and a quarter tons.

This record was held until earlier this century. Footage actually exists within a Pathe newsreel of this piano being played. Soon after, the factory changed its output when it became the main site of production of HK furniture, one of London’s uppermost manufacturers of high-end modernist interior chairs, sofas and chaise lounges.

Such was the importance of HK Furniture for the area (as an employer of status in Haringey) that the company’s archives are now kept at Bruce Castle Museum Archives.

HK Furniture closed their operations on the site in 2004.

Cartographic evidence has shown that there was little development in the area of the until the later 19th century. Hermitage Road was not defined as such until the late 19th century, being developed as a track following earlier field boundaries to connect Green Lanes with St Ann’s Road.

HK Furniture closed their operations on the site in 2004.

Cartographic evidence has shown that there was little development in the area of the until the later 19th century. Hermitage Road was not defined as such until the late 19th century, being developed as a track following earlier field boundaries to connect Green Lanes with St Ann’s Road.

Hermitage Road is a quiet road with a mix of residential and commercial buildings.

Since this date, Omega Works has been subdivided by the handful of landlords who own the site.

There have been a variety of uses taking place in the years since. Current uses include sash window manufacturers, a mechanics workshop, an arts/project space and a workshop that constructs film sets.

Hermitage Lane, is a site that comprises three buildings. Omega Works A, B and C.

Omega Works B building is a commercial building that shares its facade with its neighbour A.

The current occupier is International House is a stand alone commercial building with a saw toothed roof (with asbestos).

we want to retain are preserving the building line and the historic facade Create views and new access through the site Potential for increased massing.

Historically the industrial buildings were used as furniture, sweet and textile factories, amongst other industries.

Over the last fifteen years, many of these factories have organically been converted into live/work warehouse living. This has led to the creation of the Haringey Warehouse District and Warehouse Living Policy DM39, which promotes ways in which these industrial spaces can continue to support creativity by providing new forms of communal living and working.

We have taken a holistic approach to the materiality of the Omega Works Site, with the following key principles:

  1. Retention of the existing Omega façades
  2. A shoulder height brick that runs across both Omega A & B
  3. A high level brick that differentiates the two sites and the individual buildings within Omega B

Omega Works is part of the Haringey Warehouse District which comprises a series of industrial estates, mostly surrounded by largely residential areas of Haringey. The Haringey Warehouse District is characterised by brick warehouses of different scales arranged in an ad-hoc manner. Leftover spaces in between the large warehouse blocks create interesting external amenity space today.

The site allocation for Omega Works is SA32, which includes other sites as well. The relationship between SA32/Omega Works, SA31 /Crusader Estate and SA30/Arena Design Centre is very important as they form a large urban block together. There are other nearby Warehouse District sites (SA33, 34 and 35) nearby which also must be taken into account.

As part of the wider masterplan for the area we have considered the impact of Policy DM39, related to warehouse living.

Warehouse living is a specific type of land use that has emerged over time in certain employment locations within Haringey, and lends particular support to the creative industries sector. It does not fall within a specific use class – and is not live/work development – and as such is considered a Sui Generis use.

The existing warehouse district is characterised by, a series of linear blocks that are arranged in a packed manner in respect of the irregular sites they occupy.

Long linear warehouse blocks line the streetscape of the district and this creates organic and irregular external spaces created from the leftover spaces between the warehouse blocks.

The proposals aim to maintain and improve upon the original aesthetic of the surrounding area. Utilising the materials from Haringey Warehouse District and properties along Hermitage Road for reference.

The elevational treatment is based on a simplified material palette.

Above the Saw Tooth building a simplified and ordered grid intersects with the geometry of the angled historic facade below.

A new shoulder brick is introduced behind the Omega Building which then runs across the two site ownerships to unify the facade. Above this a lighter high level brick articulates the new additional storeys.

This elevation faces North towards the Crusader Industrial Estate. As a not to the historic Saw Tooth facade to Hermitage Road, the North facade features a recycled concrete memory facade with an imprint / ghosted mark that follows the geometry of the Saw Tooth. A linear grid of regular windows forms the elevational treatment to the upper levels and these two geometries intersect to create interesting junctions and moments within the facade.

Recycled Concrete From The Demolished Buildings!

Large numbers of walls, roofs and floors of the existing building will need to be removed to make way for the proposals. Rather than sending these materials to landfill it is our intention that broken bricks, roofing slates and other waste materials are gathered together, checked for their suitability and cast into moulds to create the decorative concrete forms of the new concrete façades and elements of the scheme.

In this way we aim to localise the use of the materials and reduce the carbon footprint of the proposal.

The proposed scheme includes the provision of 673.5m² of commercial floorspace and a total of 36 new residential apartment. All of the newly proposed dwellings will aim to comply with Lifetime Homes requirements and will adhere to the national floorspace standard requirements and Haringey Councils policy on residential development as much as practically possible.

The Proposal is currently submitted for planning.