Apartment Building in London
This terraced building is situated in London’s prestigious Bayswater/Notting Hill area. It fills a gap which was left by a bomb in the 1940 Blitz, and was reputedly the last such site. In the 1980s an initial project was approved, but when the economy weakened it was put on hold. A new phase began in 1996, attended by a new design for a load-bearing masonry structure accommodating three two-storey units. In late 2002, two years after the plans were approved by building authorities, a team of select firms was ready to begin work.
Photos: Hélène Binet, London
The surrounding buildings – including a number of listed Late Georgian houses to the south – are predominantly in cream-toned, painted stucco, or in Gault or London stock brickwork. In deference to the context, Jones selected ivory brick with a textured surface. At a distance the hue resembles that of its neighbour to the north; close up the brickwork has unique textural and surface qualities. The south elevation’s large expanse of brick prompted the specification of a high-performance mortar: no construction joints were required. The broad, brushed-mortar joints – contrasting slightly with the ivory brick – dominate the exterior and interior surface of the walls, as well as the floors and the soffits. In addition to the brickwork, oak fenestration, whitish precast concrete and fixed glazing on the south elevation constitute the palette of materials for the building envelope.
Each apartment has distinct spatial qualities. The central lime-concrete staircase – accompanied by a continuous soffit – winds its way to the respective apartments and generates a compact, processional route through the building. The interior detailing is consistent with that of the exterior. In the lower apartment, all walls and floors are brick; the floors in the middle apartment were executed in limestone. In the upper apartment, larger apertures are feasible in the brickwork: two large windows frame views to the south. All brick surfaces received a thin coat of mortar. The sinks are carved from solid blocks of limestone; counters are of limestone or of oak – in a thickness equal to the depth of a single brick.
Architects: Russell Jones, London
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