Winner of the 2012 Architects’ Journal Small Projects Award
A project to rehabilitate a derelict workshop by doubling its size and converting it to live/work, the original workshop was built behind a London stock brick wall that linked the neighbouring terraces. This wall and the gap above it that framed a landscape of tree canopies were important to the integrity of the streetscape and a decision was taken to preserve them. This led to a bespoke door design piercing the wall to form a new entrance – integrated into the brickwork but visible only as a rectangular witness line.
To increase the habitable volume, a new basement level with generous ceiling heights was inserted under the original but offset horizontally to allow daylight to penetrate through walk on roof lights running along its length. Care was taken to maximise daylighting to minimise the need for artificial lighting. Openings are positioned so that the sky is visible from all parts of the building, especially the basement.
To work the building’s history back into its fabric, materials stripped out of the original structure were reused – for example, pitch pine boards salvaged from the roof were dried out, lightly planed, and used to make kitchen cabinet doors.
Long term inclusivity was addressed by designing the building to offer a choice of internal layouts. For example, although the kitchen is currently in the basement, services have also been installed at ground floor level so that its location can be changed very easily should that be required in future. Similarly, the building has been wired to offer flexibility of positioning of electrical and communication devices.
Structural Engineer: C&R
General Contractor: Abtech