Local Notes: Stories of our neighbourhoods | Celeste Bolte
Tuesday 30 March 2021
From Australia to Stoke Newington, down to Brighton for lockdown and back to Hackney again last November, I’ve moved more times than I would have liked to these past two years. After lockdown by the sea, my husband and I finally settled into a converted warehouse flat in Haggerston, prompting a deep love for the adapted industrial buildings in our neighbourhood, or more locally, our road.
I’ve always loved old brick warehouses for their textures, big windows, and large proportions. Haggerston and De Beauvoir certainly aren’t short of these old beauties. We’re right on Regent’s Canal and Kingsland Road. Our building sits on a site that’s had many incarnations; a builders yard, a cement yard, and an art metal factory (according to a development proposal by Nissen Richards). I heard from a fellow tenant that it was used for a while in the 50’s to make knock-off diamonds. Our neighbours are friendly, the landlords are flexible, and the large windows are brilliant. The single glazing and crumbling window putty are less so, but the trade off (climate control) is worth it for the abundance of natural light and large private terrace we have access to, especially in these times.
Further along the road with views of Karakusevic Carson & Chipperfields’ Hoxton Press Towers is a beautiful, undulating, curving 1930’s warehouse. It used to be a player’s cigarette factory and must at one point have been an engineering company according to its signage. Now, it’s home to artist studios run by Acme Spaces. Immediately next door is a silvery steel extension of live-work studios to the original warehouse that I really love, completed in 2001 by Robert Barnes Architects.
The rest of our street is a mix of apartment buildings, warehouse-style flats, and council housing. We have British land’s co-working hub, Storey, by Waugh Thistleton a few steps down the way, next door to Dezeen, and just further down, pH+’s golden Orsman Road building with its fabulous street-level facade of caged stones.
I love my street, much more than I anticipated. I love watching the buildings changing colour in the evenings. We’ve had some fantastic sunsets, and they seem all the more magic for the views and the skyline we’re lucky to enjoy.