Belsize Square Synagogue plans for Belsize Square

Belsize Square
Belsize Square Synagogue

Belsize Square Synagogue invites local Belsize residents to comment on plans to improve its facilities and provide residential housing on Belsize Square.

The plan is to replace the existing hall with a new multi-use hall and new open space. To enable these improvements to be delivered, a small number of new residential units will also be included in the development.

In order to improve the appearance of Belsize Square and the buildings within the location, there is the opportunity to:

  • make the multi-use hall fit for purpose
  • increase flexibility of the synagogue
  • reinstate the square as an open space
  • improve public amenity and the multi-use hall
  • improve the quality of residential amenities and Improve overall visual appearance

The question is should the new proposed scheme appear to be part of
'The Square' or to be part of 'The Streetscape'?

There are three options:
Option 1: Mid-19th Century Italianate Villa, part of 'The Streetscape'
Option 2: Sculpture in the Square, part of 'The Square'
Option 3: Modern Classic, part of 'The Streetscape'

“The Streetscape”: Maintain the existing local vernacular by mirroring the composition and/or style of Italianate stucco villas of the neighbourhood.
“The Square”: Maintain the individuality of the square by constructing a unique form, contrasting but complementing the villa terraces.

Option 1Option 1: Mid-19th century ltalianate Villas

The paired villas are symmetrical about their slab chimney stacks, have hipped, slate roofs with overhanging eaves which are supported on brackets, the elevations have large rusticated quoins, recessed sash windows diminishing in size on successive upper floors with classically-detailed surrounds, canted three-light bays on the ground floor and steps up to porticoes.

This scheme attempts to adopt the architectural style of the existing residential buildings within the local context – the mid-19th century Italianate villa style. Copying the existing style and grain of the surrounding housing of mid-19th century Italianate villa may help maintain a visual order in keeping with the characteristics of 'The Streetscape'.

Option 2Option 2: Sculpture in the Square

In plan, the form is broken down into four equal components to align with the module of the villa housing to the east. The form is broken down further vertically with a series of terraces cascading down facing the existing residential to the east. The terraces serve dual function, first of amenity space for the resident and second as a visual amenity to the existing neighbouring residential units with sufficient daylight and sunlight to the rear flats.

The open space formed is broken down into modules, creating two different experiential approaches to the open space. The open space opens out to the street to the south, welcoming the user from the street, defined in three sides by tiers of lush green hedges and planting.

The material palette is anticipated to be organic to reflect the colours and warmth of the trees and bricks defining the square as an island. Anticipated materials are a combination natural glazed green faience tiles, timber and/or brick.

This scheme follows the concept of being part of the ‘The Square', extending the perception of the square and restoring the square to an open space that can be utilised and enjoyed by local people.

Option 3Option 3: Modern Classic

The massing of the proposed new building connects to the existing building. This scheme attempts to cluster new building with the old in order to create more synergy and better connectivity within the existing synagogue and new proposed building and also to maximize the look, feel and size of the new open space created to the east.

The visual amenity of the rear garden extends the perceived size of the proposed new open space. Because the open space size is more generous, larger to either side, bigger trees can be introduced to form a more 'green' and lush feel to the open space.

The elevational treatment is characterised by simple geometry and lines in attempt to be 'quiet' against the grain of various highly stylised elevational treatment of the Italianate Villas and various religious buildings within the square built over different periods. The material palette here is anticipated to be white to match the colour of the villas.

This scheme follows the concept of being part of the 'The Square', extending the perception of the square and restoring the square to an open space that can be utilised and enjoyed by local residents.

You can email your comments by 17 July 2015 to:
Or by post to:
Belsize Square Synagogue Consultation
20-24 Old Street
London EC1V 9AB


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