Coffey Architects has connected two separate apartments in a historic Clerkenwell building to create a significant residential unit. The floor plans of two apartments – one above the other - have been totally reconfigured and tied together, vertically and horizontally, via a joinery wall which stretches from one end to the other of both plans. The 7m high wall of storage physically and visually links the two levels reconfiguring two separate spaces into a single volume for living. A glazed and mirrored slot creates a visual ‘grand hall’ in front of the joinery element, and contributes to a light and spacious experience when moving around the home. The central storage wall and slot not only create visual continuity, they also split the plan between primary and tertiary spaces. Bathrooms, entrance spaces and a linear stair are located to the rear and living spaces enjoy light and evening sun from the large north west facing windows. Private living spaces are located on the lower floor, with more flexible living space on the upper floor. A high degree of flexibility across all spaces allows the home to be used as three bedroom + large living space or several living spaces. A natural basalt floor finish has been chosen to work well for all room functions on both floors as well as creating unity across the whole apartment. An area of glazed floor between the two levels allows light from the upper floor to permeate the corridor linking the bedrooms below. The main joinery along the corridor is formed from lacquered panels and stainless steel channels which create interesting shadow effects.
The existing rough textured red brick walls, characteristic of the historic interior of the building, have been retained and contrasted with new, smooth, white painted walls and panels to highlight the best qualities of old and new. The bathroom walls are clad in slim lines of basalt stone to match the floor tiles. These natural finishes add layers of texture and beautifully reflect the quality of light coming through the translucent glazed partition walls.
The use of glazed walls and floors challenges the usually enclosed interior circulation spaces to achieve a feeling of openness and space. Interior spaces are connected allowing areas that would not normally benefit from natural light to do so.
The design of the apartment maximises user comfort and control. An intelligent control system has been installed that allows the client to have full control of the lighting, AV and heating. The client can control the sound, temperature and light in one room or indeed the whole apartment from a control pad, a smart phone and from local keypad controllers. All the lighting is dimmable high power LEDs which give a very good quality of light whilst being low in energy use.