EMPIRE HOUSE


Location: Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London

Client: Withheld

Kitchen Design: Boffi

LIght & Sound: Innovate Smart Building Systems

Acoustics: Auricl

Structural Engineer: Structural Engineering Services

Refurbishment of a second-floor apartment forming part of a 1920s building in the Brompton area of South Kensington. The project involved a complete redesign of its layout to accommodate the needs of the family.

With a gross internal area of circa 160 sq. meters, this was a rather disproportionate, double aspect, one bedroom apartment. It did, however, have plenty of natural light, good floor to ceiling height and beautifully proportioned windows throughout.



THE SITE


Empire House is a 5 storey former showroom, storage and offices of the Continental Tyre and Rubber Company. Built in 1909 , it was converted to shops and apartments in 1925.


The grade 2 building was recent listed for its positive contribution to its surroundings at street level and despite some noteworthy features within the common parts of the building, the many alterations that followed its change of use (from office to apartments) in 1925 left very little sign of any original features within the apartments  we visited.

Number 24 in particular, had an austere interior which made very little sense of the volume of space available. With 156 sq m , at purchase, it was a one bedroom apartment.


THE CLIENT

As heads of a family with grown up children who lived away from home, the clients were looking to downsize while still provide the children with space to stay over.

The original layout provided a poor use of the space and the voluminous proportions of the apartment and despite the footprint of circa 150s qm , it did not offer appropriate accommodation for family living.

The mother of the family, who has a keen eye for design came to us with a bundle of ideas and together we worked through those to consolidate them under the same roof.



THE STRATEGY

Having looked at the existing structural grid, we decided to embrace its rationality and use it to defile the rooms and their uses.


The beams helped us order the space placing the emphasis on the volume of each room . They also helped accentuate the window openings which on the living spaces, where the boxing of radiators, had visually shortened the reveals in which both windows and balcony doors sit .


Another clear decision we made was to separate the day time uses form the evening ones in order to provide a degree of privacy to each of the occupiers on what essentially is a very open layout.


PRIMARY FEATURES

FSC approved timbers and non toxic paints were used throughout. 

In order to create the illusion of space the client was keen for us to find a way to hide the doors and at concept stage we decided to use traditional panelling, to conceal doors as well as wardrobe doors.


Another client request was the use of a large plaster cornice. This is their favourite cornice and having used it in the past, they were determined to use it again in the project. The cornice and the speakers lowered the ceiling below the window lines making difficult to fit the curtains in the traditional way. Hence we created a recess where they could slot in hidden from view.


KITCHEN

Among those we had worked with in the past, Italian kitchen manufacturer Boffi were the client's choice.

Due to the nature of the space, where by the kitchen is visible from the living room, we decided to design the kitchen in a way that would conceal their domestic nature.


The rear of the kitchen is made out of tall units with doors which slide in between the units when opened. From left to right: laundry cupboard, ladder, oven and microwave unit, sink unit with a hot tap, second oven unit and double fridge.

The island, covered in Markina marble provides both opportunities for sitting and cooking in its minimalist Pitt hob rings .

THE BUILD:


Our client appointed the construction team to coordinate with the freeholder's surveyor any compliance requirements including the safe moving of materials in and out of the building.


When building in central London, this is something most people forget about and which can have a considerable impact on your budget.


As part of our services, we can include a consultation with our trusted construction experts who can provide a building programme, budget and a list of considerations to be had when planning the works. They can also provide a site overview service to manage the construction.





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atelier EURA Ltd.

London, UK

Architecture,  ロンドンの建築家, Arquitectura, 


Tel: +44(0)207 267 7120

 

Registered in England and Wales

No. 08199933

 

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