A concrete block of flats doesn't sound too inviting. But this particular high-rise is perhaps the most celebrated in England. The residents of Highpoint describe life inside a Modernist classic
Highpoint One was the first successful tower block in England: and very few since have been as pleasant to look at and live in. "The best and healthiest site in the whole of London," swooned the original Thirties sales pitch, "less than 30 minutes from the City and the West End." Atop Highgate Hill, it has amazing views over the capital.

Its designer was the pioneering Modernist architect Lubetkin, who also produced the penguin ramp at London Zoo. The commission came from Sigmund Gestetner, who wanted homes for the staff of his office equipment factory in Tottenham, north London. Far from becoming a Modernist role model for low-cost housing, Highpoint was too pricey for the workers even before it came on the market in 1936. The middle classes took possession instead - including Lubetkin.

Set within the exterior walls (of reinforced concrete only 6in thick) are sliding, folding metal windows, which open to create a huge space and an even better look at the view. With the windows wide, your living room becomes a balcony.

The flats have two or three bedrooms and came with a fully-fitted kitchen, a bathroom designed by Shanks & Co especially for Highpoint, and fitted bedroom wardrobes. There's cork flooring throughout. Very few of the apartments have retained all their original features, but the residents can still enjoy Highpoint's outdoor heated pool, tennis courts and large garden.

Who's in the house?

If you are a group of people who live, or work, separately but within the same building and would like to be featured on this page, write to Who's in the House?, The Independent Magazine, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL, giving a contact phone number, your address, and details of the type of building you occupy. Please also include recent photographs (which you do not want returned) of your homes or offices.

Keith Malone, Stuart Macalister, Steve Fowler, Jon Matthews


Moved in: over last two years

Their landlady wanted architects in the flat, who could appreciate the building. "She's all for us enjoying the place," says Steve. They got a reduced rent, but in exchange she rings to check that they're swimming regularly, playing tennis and generally making the most of Highpoint. The sofas in the living room are from a shop in nearby Crouch End, the plan chest came from an engineer's office, the table is from Stuart's office and the drawing board is "in storage" for a friend. They all cycle to work except Keith, who uses his scooter. "It's a healthy-lifestyle flat," he nevertheless claims.

Carolyn Parmeter

Civil servant

David Rowley

Chemistry lecturer

Moved in: 1993

Carolyn and David lived in East Finchley: they knew Highpoint well and particularly wanted to live here. The flat had lots of Thirties features, like the cork floor and the doors with art-deco style handles, but they picked up a Thirties cabinet from Camden, and put Lloyd Loom chairs next to a Liberty cabinet and a Shaker long wooden table. Carolyn is on the residents' committee and knows a lot about the building and her neighbours. "It's quite an accolade that people stay a long time," she says. "An awful lot have lived in more than one flat. People start lower down and move up."

Deana Selby

PR for the National Canine Defence League

Alex Conway

Civil servant

Moved in: 1995

Diana and Alex rented when they first moved into Highpoint, but have just taken out a mortgage. They couldn't imagine living anywhere else: "I've become incredibly spoilt," says Deana. She recalls spending last Christmas steaming off wood-chip wallpaper and painting the walls. The sofas were gifts from relatives, the Seventies paintings were rescued from Alex's parents' garage, and the cheetah (crouched under their fig tree in a Russian policeman's hat) came from Alex's aunt: "He's the first thing anyone notices," says Deana. "We're very fond of him."

Bruno and KItty Andreis

Both retired

Moved in: 1991

Bruno and Kitty Andreis chose to live in Highpoint because of "the location, the view and then the building - in that order". They enjoy the feeling of space, the way they can look out at the skyline and the greenery right across London. One wall of the living room is covered by a large mirror, reflecting the view out of their window: when Mr and Mrs Andreis first moved in, they weren't sure that they could manage to live with it. But now Kitty likes the mirror because: "It makes the room look bigger." Bruno Andreis enjoys sitting in the living room to watch the amazing view. "The Concordes come in every afternoon," he says. "You don't have to lift your head. You just look straight out through that window."

Peggy Williams

Retired Alexander Technique teacher

Moved in: 1972

Peggy Williams moved to Highpoint from Hampstead. "The moment I saw this view, I fell in love. I love the lightness, the colours, the changing seasons and seeing the trees." Her old flat was tiny, so she arrived with little furniture. But she did bring the antique gossip chair - so called because Victorians would sit in a high-backed chair for whispered chats. The couch turns into a bed for friends to stay over. The glass lights on the wall are Heal's from 1972, and the book shelves were made specially for the corner of the room. On the wall is a picture of her teacher, Frederick Matthias Alexander, inventor of the Alexander technique. "A very important man to me," Peggy confesses.