Simon Goode: architect

18 Feb

Everyone has a story. It’s rare in London to meet an architect that lives and works in the same borough – but Simon Goode, who lives in Tufnell Park and set up Lyndon Goode in EC1 with his partner three years ago, has had a hand in designing the new King’s Cross station concourse; upgrading shop fronts along Junction Road as well as working on affordable housing for the Peabody. Here he explains how architecture can help make the area better for a huge number of people. Interview by Nicola Baird.

Simon Goode: architect xxx

Simon Goode: architect at Lyndon Goode.

“I moved to Tufnell Park as a student and I’m still there, so I know the neighbourhood well,” says Simon Goode of Lyndon Goode at the Paul café, picked as the nearest place for a cup of tea to the Clerkenwell office he runs with his business partner, David Lyndon.

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“Islington council has a £2 million budget for high street renewal around Archway. Often these type of projects focus on a retail block and the result can be uniform. On Junction Road the shops are not in one block, rather spread along the high street so many were independent shopkeepers – including Map gift shop, the restaurant Il Mio Mosaic, a supermarket and a print shop. The shop fronts were in bad condition with peeling paintwork and graffiti. We needed to improve their image and give a shop front that reflected what was in the shop,” adds Simon who is good at friendly chat.

He loves the idea that this wasn’t a typical architects’ commission – buildings that needed smartening up included Archway Kebab and the Second Chance charity shop on Archway Island which had a “modest budget” but now has sleek display shelves thanks to clever use of scaffolding bars and salvaged orange boxes.

The current phase involves Lyndon Goode working with the block of shops directly opposite Archway tube including an estate agent, chicken shop and a vegetable seller. When it’s finished – in Spring 2015 – it should be a real treat for commuters exiting the Northern line.

“Meeting business people who’ve been around for 20 years keeping their businesses going is a privilege,” says Simon. “I know how hard it is to keep a business successful, so I really hope that this development in Archway will encourage more people to shop there. It’s faced a lot of changes and there are more to come.” See photos of the makeovers at Archway here.

“Close to work I like Leatherlane market, the church and cloisters at the back of Smithfield Market and J&A Café, 4 Sutton Lane, EC1.”

Simon Goode: “Close to work I like the church and cloisters at the back of Smithfield Market.”

Places Simon Goode likes in Islington

“The great thing about where I live in Tufnell Park is that it’s just 20 minutes walk and I’m at the cinema and shops on Holloway Road.”

“Whittington Park has a great playground but Hampstead Heath and Highgate Woods are my salvation. There’s a very good farmers’ market by Parliament Hill on Saturdays.

St John’s Tavern on Junction road has a dining room like an old ball room – Sunday lunch there is really good fun.”

“Close to work I like Leatherlane market, the church and cloisters at the back of Smithfield Market and J&A Café, 4 Sutton Lane, EC1.”

Archway Children’s Centre  is super creative. The art shows at the end of the year are inspirational. The Head of the Centre says if you could only teach one thing to children then it should be art because by drawing a flower you are learning to count petals and how to use a brush leads to writing.”

Architecture for all
Simon is convinced that architecture can improve people’s lives.

“Sometimes people think ‘well architecture isn’t for us’. It’s not a subject taught in schools and yet the urban environment can have a massive difference on how groups form communities, meet and even on crime. With the affordable housing we are doing in west London and at Lee Green in Lewisham we are thinking about security in the common spaces – the staircases, hallways and lifts. If you invest in these areas people feel pride about where they live and they are more likely to develop a community. They’ll stop and chat.”

“Architects make small interventions, but it can have a far wider impact. We always try to understand the local context to make sure that our designs feel embedded in the local architecture.

“Archway has a fascinating history with the tram and the railway. It’s helped me appreciate the built environment even more. You just need to look around and look up,” he adds.

Ian Morris with a 1904 photo of his shop. Back then it was a butcher’s shop. Even now the pink-fronted Map Gift Shop on Junction Road has butchers’ hooks.

Ian Morris with a 1904 photo of his shop. Back then it was a butcher’s shop. Even now the pink-fronted Map Gift Shop on Junction Road has butchers’ hooks.

For regular readers you might find it interesting to look at the interview with Ian Morris from Map gift shop which got the benefit of the Lyndon Goode magic touch so that it’s now a space accessible to anyone including wheelchair and buggy users, and it’s easy to spot with its pink-painted bow window with subtle nods to its original use as a butcher’s shop.

Islington planning officers really care about the borough and do a phenomenal amount of work,” adds Simon. “They will be trying to assess whether this urban renewal around Archway has had an impact on the 12 shopkeepers – but it is a small sample.”

The shop front makeover by Lyndon Goode must be making an impact – I know I enjoyed my visit to Map on Junction Road in December 2014 so much that I went back the next day to try out some of the other shops, and have plans to go to the Junction Tavern and the Oak & Pastor soon too. Archway is changing – go and see what you think of it. And while you’re there pop into Archway Kebab which is famous for claiming to be the first London shop to serve chicken doner kebab and in 2013 was the London winner of the UK Kebab Awards.

And if you like what you see, make sure to let the local shopkeepers know.

Over to you
If you’d like to nominate someone to be interviewed who grew up, lives or works in Islington, or suggest yourself, please let me know, via at Thank you.

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This blog is inspired by Spitalfields Life written by the Gentle Author.

If you enjoyed this post you might like to look at the A-Z  index, or search by interviewee’s roles or Meet Islingtonians to find friends, neighbours and inspiration. Thanks for stopping by. Nicola


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