Macaulay Walk

1 of 9
Reinstated internal street
Converted warehouses and stores
Mixed-use building with flexible studio space and apartments linked by overhead footbridges
New gateway building fronting Macaulay Road
Derelict former camera shop and store
Converted former camera shop and stores
Site plan
Taking its inspiration from the layers of the site’s history, dating back to the nineteenth century with the former Ross Optical Works, a company making cameras, lenses and projectors through the World Wars, Macaulay Walk has sensitively retained and transformed six former warehouses into high-quality, modern living.

Together with five new buildings, this bespoke development provides 113 homes across an array of accommodation, including 33% social rented and shared ownership homes, single and duplex apartments and private houses, as well as 14,000 sq ft of flexible studio space.

The site’s rich industrial history and its location in Clapham Old Town, the original Georgian quarter that mediates between the high street and Clapham Common and still comprises traditional independent shops and a weekly market which contribute to the area’s village-like feel, influenced the scheme’s layout, scale, massing and material palette.

The Optical Works consisted of a diverse collection of industrial buildings and those which were considered to contribute positively to Clapham Conservation Area were retained and converted. The two storey gabled-ended brick buildings, which once held the camera shop and stores, now accommodate eight one and two bedroom duplexes, each which their own entrance from the street and private gardens to the rear, whilst the large warehouse at the end of the internal street provides 19 apartments, including seven duplexes at ground and lower ground and two penthouses which take full advantage of the panoramic views of London via a rooftop extension and external terraces.

Each of the new homes in these heritage buildings maximise space and light through intelligent open plan design. Original industrial features such as the exposed roof trusses, decorative brickwork and Victorian ironwork, high ceilings and large windows have been integrated with sensitive modern intervention; mezzanines, balconies and rooftop extensions, to provide comfortable and contemporary living.

The remainder of the site has been rebuilt, comprising five new buildings, four of which are residential and one designed for flexible commercial studio space. These new buildings have a contemporary architectural style, yet each has been contextually designed with meticulous attention to height, materials and spatial relationships. A mews of four townhouses is located at the pinnacle of the site’s internal street and one further individual house at the other end comprises an ‘upside-down’ layout with bedrooms at ground floor and living spaces above, with terraces off all spaces. Fronting Macaulay Road, a distinctive apartment building forms the gateway to the site, with its vertically staggered façade designed to gesture its neighbours, and accommodates 59 apartments and the site’s only car parking spaces at lower ground floor. Adjacent, 29 Macaulay Road provides seven social rented homes and has been modeled on the converted former manager’s house beside it.

The final new building accommodates the flexible and multi-occupancy commercial space, set around a central landscaped courtyard with overhead linking footbridges, connecting one side of the building to the other. Uniquely, the planning consent for this building permitted automatic conversion, twelve months after practical completion, of any unsold units to residential use, without the need for additional planning applications. This building therefore achieves a balanced design, delivering spaces attractive to creative industries, yet capable of conversion to residential 'loft style' apartments and, in response to market demand, 16 of the units have now been converted to residential

Macaulay Walk’s eclectic mix of architecture and variety of accommodation is brought together at the centre of the scheme by the reinstated internal street. This new route provides direct access onto the adjacent Clapham Common, a new public space at the heart of the development, highlighted by open water rills and large mature trees, and views of the Grade II* Listed Holy Trinity Church to create a bespoke and sustainable place to live; a new ‘village’ for Clapham Old Town.

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Blending historic with contemporary
Macaulay Walk
29-33 Macaulay Road
Clapham, SW4 0QU


Grainger plc


2015 AJ Retrofit Awards - Shortlisted for the Housing category

2015 RESI Awards - Highly Commended for Development of the Year

2015 Building Awards - Finalist for Housing Project of the Year

2014 The Sunday Times British Homes Awards - Winner of Development of the Year

2014 The Sunday Times British Homes Awards - Winner of Mixed-use Development of the Year

2014 What House? Awards - Gold Winner of Best Brownfield Development

2014 What House? Awards - Gold Winner of Best Apartment Scheme

2014 What House? Awards - Silver Winner of Best Mixed-use Development

2014 What House? Awards - Bronze Winner of Best Development


RIBA Stages

Proposed use

Site history

Former Ross Optical Works manufacturing facility

Site area


Gross internal area


Number of dwellings




Plot ratio


Construction value


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