Case study: Legal & General’s Blackhorse Mills BTR scheme

A look at Blackhorse Mills, Legal & General’s flagship Build to Rent development in Walthamstow - designed by Assael Architecture.

Blackhorse Mills, Legal & General’s flagship development designed by Assael Architecture | BTR News
Blackhorse Mills, Legal & General’s flagship development designed by Assael Architecture.

Blackhorse Mills is Legal & General’s flagship Build to Rent development, designed by Assael Architecture – award-winning architects, urban designers, landscape architects, interior designers and visualisers.

The scheme is an environmentally sustainable residential community on the edge of Walthamstow’s High Maynard Reservoir. The Build to Rent development has regenerated the former Ferry Lane Industrial Estate on the edge of Walthamstow’s reservoirs, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, into an environmentally-sensitive scheme.

Blackhorse Mills includes 479 Build to Rent homes – a mix of studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments, with concessionary rent available for key workers in the area. With flexible contracts ranging from six months to five years and efficient eco-friendly heating, residents have the option of three different colour kitchens to choose from with Samsung appliances, and large terraces and balconies available with the two and three bedroom apartments.

20m private outdoor heated swimming pool at Blackhorse Mills Build to Rent scheme | Legal & General | Assael Architecture | BTR News
20m private outdoor heated swimming pool at Blackhorse Mills.

The scheme includes five buildings ranging from eight to 16 storeys high, which are connected by an elevated terrace at podium with views across the water and an eclectic mix of amenities and activities for residents and the public. Catering for a variety of tenants and catalysing a sense of community, amenities include a 20m private outdoor heated swimming pool and sun lounge – both with spectacular wetlands views, balconies and rooftop terraces, a hi-tech gym and studio, rooftop shuffleboard, a games room, snug and lounge area, shared workspaces, private dining, bike storage, a car club and an onsite team and concierge.

Blackhorse Mills has been recognised for its world leading digital connectivity – as the first residential building to achieve a WiredScore Gold certification. The certification demonstrates a commitment to reliable, instant internet connectivity that provides residents with a seamless digital experience.

Ideally located, the scheme is close to Blackhorse Road station, where you can reach Stratford, Farringdon or Oxford Circus in 24 minutes, London Bridge in 32 minutes, Old Street in 28 minutes and Bank in 30 minutes.

Blackhorse Mills responds to the design and geometries of the emerging Blackhorse Lane urban framework, set out by the London Borough of Waltham Forest. Assael Architecture’s design of the scheme ties into the established green links and promotes health and wellbeing through an extensive public realm, a complementary mix of uses, and enhanced physical and visual permeability to the water.

Blackhorse Mills amenity space | L&G | Assael Architecture | BTR News
Blackhorse Mills amenity space.

The design celebrates and respects its location along the High Maynard Reservoirs. Extensive new landscaping includes 197 new trees, diverse planting and grasses, ‘play on the way’ features for children, and various character areas – such as the civic space and urban woodland, each responding to their specific locality. The publicly-accessible ‘riverine walk’ along the waterfront creates an ecological corridor that provides a buffer between the natural environment and built form, protecting local wildlife and attracting new species, whilst also connecting the site to the emerging developments in the Blackhorse Lane housing zone.

The buildings have also been designed to respond sensitively to the site’s natural microclimate challenges and promote the environmentally-focused ethos of the development with a zero-car policy, the provision of screening from activity on the terraces, and use of non-reflective materials and ‘reeded’ cladding incorporated into the façade.

The Blackhorse Mills scheme provides a new community and commercial hub. It includes 20,000 sq ft of shops, offices and restaurants  – serving the growing community and becoming an integral part of the local area. The strategy for the scheme takes inspiration from the borough’s history – to encourage the great culture of making and creating, harbouring local creative and independent commercial tenants to enliven the ground floor and waterside.

Blackhorse Mills amenity deck. Image credit - RobertGreshoff | Legal & General | Assael Architecture | BTR News
Blackhorse Mills amenity deck. Image credit: RobertGreshoff.

The civic space continues into the scheme’s building as a grand ‘Forum’ which is open to the public. Historically, a forum was a meeting place, market place and a place to exchange ideas and inform. This concept has been used with the design of a flexible, robust space that will be programmed to include local exhibitions, performances and community events, with an aspiration to involve and educate local school children and others on culture, ecology and sustainability. This space forms the heart of the Blackhorse Mills development, contributing to its transition from an industrial area into a mixed-use development.

Blackhorse Mills demonstrates synergies between key Build to Rent design principles and designing for offsite methods of construction. This results is a rational design solution which brings efficiencies in construction – as well as efficiencies in long-term management and operation of this flagship development.