During our first conversation – over the phone and before we had met – (with me expressing doubts about whether we were best placed to take on a dilapidated Victorian workshop building in North Hackney) our client explained that his project would be ‘interesting’ – and it was this comment that sparked our curiosity and we arranged to meet.
At our initial meeting during our assessment of the scope of work in conjunction with our clients brief, we discussed the option of demolishing the building and constructing a new house on the site. However, it was both parties opinion that the existing building had a unique and unconventional character, and that we could generate a successful design by working with the existing building.
When our client purchased the property late in 2012, it was in domestic use. The building had been converted and extended by the previous owners, however the spaces were poorly arranged and did not make sense. The ground floor was a series dark bedrooms with living accommodation at first floor level. Moving from one floor to another was awkward with a steep staircase shoe-horned into a corner near the main entrance. The first riser was 270mm.
We understood the internal organisation of the building was the first difficulty to overcome. We proposed a physical connection between the front section (built in 2008) and main body of the building. This took the shape of an angled three storey cast in-situ concrete wall. The concrete wall provides a physical and visual link through the building both horizontally and vertically. From drawing a diagonal line on a floor plan, the concrete wall has become both a structural and visual element and is the driving force of the scheme.
We fully reformed the building and introduced an additional bedroom storey. This involved us in re-structuring the building using an exposed steel frame creating a series of goalpost structures that repeat through the ground and first floors. We opted to retain most aspects of the front façade. The new top floor is clad in dark grey zinc and the exterior of the first floor is also painted grey – the idea being to pull an eclectic elevation together.
New glazing in the form of large fixed and sliding panels, and W20 windows have been introduced further improving natural light and views. The ground floor was lowered and reinstated as an exposed concrete slab continuing outside to the front courtyard and rear garden. Great care was taken to retain original brickwork, which remains largely visible throughout. A combination of exposed concrete, brickwork, steelwork and reclaimed oak ensured an industrial aesthetic in line with the buildings origins.
The result is a high quality contemporary home with a strong sense of the past. New elements preserve and enhance the original building and enable current building standards to be achieved. The building is very tactile and the practical arrangement of space and circulation has created a dynamic design with visual interest at every turn.
Our intention with this Victorian building was to fully restore it, both to enhance its design but also its practicality as a twenty-first century dwelling.
By stripping the workshop building back to its structure, we were able to rebuild significant parts of the house with environmental impact foremost in our mind, and avoid large quantities of building materials being wasted, as we were not demolishing the whole building.
A second storey was added, constructed from steel and timber framing, clad in zinc, with U values of 0.18 for the flat roof and 0.28 for the walls. This addition vastly improved the thermal insulation efficacy in the part of the house where most heat traditionally escapes. By also increasing the insulation in the existing floors and external walls of the building, we effectively created a far more efficient building, which requires less heat generation in turn.
Natural light was a priority and all new glazing used high specification double glazing. Additionally all existing single glazed windows were replaced with double glazed units. The house allows for the passage of light as a solar heat collector, and then conserves its interior heat. The concrete wall and slab incorporates a sustainable material with high thermal mass that will retain heat effectively. The boiler and hot water system was replaced, and underfloor heating pipes were incorporated within the floor, delivering economic, environmental and efficiency savings over a conventional heating system.
Much of the original building fabric has been retained and timber upcycled to provide stair treads and floor finishes. Recycled materials such as second hand bricks were used where possible.
Our client has lived in the house now for nine months and has confirmed that the building performs very well and that a comfortable environment is enjoyed in both warmer and cooler months.
For our private residential clients we have a standard three month check-in to ensure everything is working as it should and we request client feedback on the operation of the building.
We maintain an open communication channel for any design or building related issues that our client wishes to discuss.
During our first conversation – over the phone and before we had met – (with me expressing doubts about whether we were best placed to take on a dilapidated Victorian workshop building in North Hackney) our client explained that his project would be ‘interesting’ – and it was this comment that sparked our curiosity and we arranged to meet.At our initial meeting during our assessment of the scope of work in conjunction with our clients brief, we discussed the option...
- Status Completed works
- Type Single-family residence / Interior Design / Building Recovery and Renewal