Windows Options for The Maisonettes

About the Maisonettes

There are five blocks that are built in the Maisonette style on the Golden Lane Estate; Basterfield House, Bayer House, Bowater House, Cuthbert Harrowing House and Hatfield House. All of the Maisonette blocks are six storeys, with the exception of Cuthbert Harrowing House which is four storeys and Hatfield House which has a seven-storeys due to the addition of a lower ground floor.


The majority of the Maisonette flats are 2-bed, with a small number of 3-beds and, to the lower ground floor of Hatfield House, 14 studio flats. All Maisonette blocks were constructed between 1953 and 1956, with the exception of Hatfield House which followed later in 1958-61. Basterfield and Bayer House are connected to Stanley Cohen House and Hatfield House is connected to Crescent House.

All five of the Maisonette blocks are Grade II listed by Historic England. Special features of the Maisonette blocks include:

 Strong, rhythmic pattern to the elevation (due to paired maisonettes), with a continuous band of glazing and coloured glass on the upper floor of the topmost maisonettes
 ‘Externally, at night particularly, a feeling is given of the living room going up to the double height and the bedroom floating as a box and piercing the glass screen’ (Architectural Association Journal, April 1957)
 The bright colour of the cladding (red or blue) and the lighter quality of the aluminium frames contrasts with the comparatively darker materials used elsewhere
 Aluminium-framed windows, with top-hung night ventilators, slide horizontally and are designed to over-slide for easy cleaning
 Spaciousness and light - resulted principally from the large windows between the south-facing living rooms and generous balconies
 The glazed aluminium doors to the balconies slide vertically, counterbalanced by the top section which can be lowered to four feet above floor level for easy cleaning
 Windows in the living room originally had curtain tracks fitted at transom level, adding to the geometry of the elevation. Few of these curtain tracks survive
 The figure-of-eight heating coil placed at the centre of the double-height window to prevent cold down-draughts and condensation Most have since been removed (south elevation)
 Open grilles to fire escape balconies improves daylight to the kitchens below (north elevation)
Access to the courtyards from the living room by private stairs – an extension of living space as intended by the architects

Window Conditions

Studio Partington has undertaken a visual survey of a selection of windows across the five Maisonette blocks. After over sixty years of use, the condition of the windows across the estate has deteriorated. Both the aluminium and timber are visibly deteriorated, leaving the frames exposed and vulnerable.

The Muroglass panels are most significantly deteriorated or damaged on the south elevations. There is also evidence that faded panels have been painted ad-hoc. It is worth noting that deterioration of the hardwood frames has occurred on the interior side of the windows, suggesting that the damage has been caused by condensation, rather than exposure to the elements externally.

Here are some images of the Maisonettes windows


The Options

There are two core options for how the window improvements can be approached: refurbishment or replacement.

Refurbishment is the option which would result in the least amount of change from a heritage perspective, but it also means that there is the least amount of improvement from a thermal performance/resident comfort/ease of use perspective.

It's worth noting that low impact does not mean minimal disruption for residents during the construction phase. Refurbishment requires expert craftsmanship which can be time-consuming and may not negate the need to remove and/or replace the existing windows.

Replacement is the option which would result in the most change, from a heritage perspective and also a thermal performance/resident comfort/ ease of use perspective.

It's worth noting that although this option is high impact, it does not mean it will be the highest level of disruption to residents. When planned effectively, replacement can be a time-efficient solution.

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