Harrow Road, London

New student accommodation within iconic London music venue

The Windsor Castle pub in Maida Vale was famous for hosting bands such as the Rolling Stones and U2 but closed in 2019. With no buyers to retain it as a bar and venue, YPP Investments stepped in to transform the 19th century landmark into A1 and A3 commercial space and student accommodation.

However, the planning approval was not without its challenges. Although the building wasn’t Listed, it had architectural merit (not to mention cultural importance).

Box Architect’s design protected the essence of the building by retaining the famous Harrow Road façade and its local brickwork, timber sash windows and slate roof. Care was also taken to preserve the shop frontage – we used historic photographs to replicate the large windows with their curved glass and decorative pilasters.

In contrast, 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. Old and new are divided (and connected) by a glazed link. The extension steps away from neighbouring properties to retain light and space.

Local residents were also considered when planning construction methods and phasing. And then came the coronavirus pandemic… But despite labour and material shortages, rising costs, social distancing requirements and even, for a short time, the complete closure of the site, the show flat opened in the summer of 2021.

The student accommodation has 34 ensuite bedrooms with study areas and cooking facilities, as well as shared kitchens, laundry room and communal areas. It’s all scheduled to open later in the year.

  • Sympathetic façade retention scheme
  • Complementary mix of traditional and modern materials
  • Local neighbourhood and residents respected by design and build programme