Transformation of iconic music venue is a hit with planners

The first show flat has opened on the site of the Windsor Castle pub in Maida Vale after challenges of planning, preservation and pandemic.

Box Architects have designed high-quality student accommodation and commercial space for the former London venue, which hosted early concerts by U2 and the Rolling Stones.

Although the plans will save the iconic building, the planning process was lengthy. In the end, the approved design retained the famous Harrow Road façade and incorporated a sympathetic rear extension.

“We adopted an ‘old and new strategy’ for the building, which wasn’t Listed, but had architectural merit,” said Box Architects’ Associate Director, Angela Newton.

“We’ve preserved the essence of the original building by retaining the façade, timber sash windows and slate roof. The three-storey rear extension incorporates modern materials, including standing seam zinc panels and aluminium windows, while still respecting the design and material palette of the original building.”

The opening of the show flat is a significant milestone. After planning was granted on appeal, the Covid-19 crisis struck, causing labour and material shortages, rising costs, social distancing requirements and even, for a short time, the complete closure of the site.

Nevertheless, all student accommodation (34 ensuite bedrooms with study areas and cooking facilities, as well as shared kitchens, laundry room and communal areas) and commercial space in the basement and ground floor is scheduled to open later in 2021.

“We adopted an ‘old and new strategy’ for the building.”

Angela Newton, Associate Director, Box Architects