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Dalston Lane is a home to London Youth Charity St Mathias Boys club and has been developed into 9 Residential units. London Youth, a charity supporting youth clubs all over the city, has had to sell their sites for cost and maintenance reasons. However, they secure their future spaces through Legal agreements and planning to ensure they are guaranteed rent controlled space as a part of the permitting and sale agreement.


The site in question was a windowless unheated portal framed shed.

Today it is a layercake in construction.

a gymnasium and a community youth club under Commercial spaces and help to buy housing.

The corner site is wedged between terraced houses and a much-loved neighbourhood pub. In order to address the transition in scale between streets we offset its volumes over the larger footprint through a series of loggias or internalised balconies, which address the various surrounding alignments.

The result is a series of articulated volumes with textured brickwork crafted through each floor plate to create a real sense of identity.

A process of squeezing architecture out of the tightest budgets, and above all to provide quality homes with the minimum of means.

The charity would not have been unable to remain in its place without the housing program. This process of retaining a civic use as an offset gain from commercial pressure is a negotiation.

One we are often faced within many of our larger retrofit projects where often this is the only way to stop larger listed buildings from becoming derelict.

The Design Process

Completion date



Lead Architect



Project Team


Projects Architects: Michel da Costa Gonçalves, Amrita Mahindroo, Harikleia Karamali


London, United-Kingdom

Project size


Project cost



Residential development



Interior Architect: DROO Architects

MEP: Carnell Warren

Structure: Fairhurst Structural Engineers

Planning consultant: First Plan

ROL & Party Walls: Syntegra Environmental Engineers 

Acoustic: Syntegra Environmental Engineers

Fire Engineers : Affinity


Ibstock Bricks


Dalston Lane Property ltd


Nofax Entreprises Ltd



Photographer: Henry Woide

Founded by Michel Da Costa Goncalves and Amrita Mahindroo, DROO Architecture is a RIBA and RICS Award-winning practice operating worldwide from our offices in London, Paris and Melbourne.

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