FORMstudio have transformed a redundant and impractical office building in central London into a distinctive 2-bedroom house.
Memorably described by one visitor as “a staircase with rooms”, the small triangular footprint predetermined its seemingly simple spatial arrangement. Below street level, a previously damp cellar space has been converted into a cosy media room, wine cellar and utility room, with four floors above capped by a roof-top terrace.
Considerable thought has gone into the subtleties of the layout and design at each level to ensure that every space works to its optimum and that the vertical spatial flow between them, provided by a signature staircase, feels natural and fluid. A sinuous white acrylic balustrade reinforces this flow, rising like a twisted and folded ribbon through the five storeys of the house and framing a vertiginous 14 metre view from glass roof to basement that lends the tiny house an unexpected sense of scale.
Externally, the original upper floor sash windows and render surrounds, which had been removed in an earlier insensitive conversion, have been replaced, reinstating the proportions of the elevations and a pleasing sense of verticality. At street level, an ugly faceted shopfront has been replaced with a new curved window following the shape of the prow of this flatiron-shaped building, inside which a curved perforated white acrylic screen – inspired by tickertape - allows light to animate the interior whilst maintaining privacy.
Existing unused chimney stacks have found a new use as duct routes for extract ventilation, soil pipes and a flue for a gas fire, concealed within the original cleaned-up, ornate chimney pots.
“FORMstudio felt from the outset that the solution to the project rested with the design of the staircase. The result is a dramatic, sculptural architectural feature which demonstrates the practice’s extraordinary attention to detail - everything is considered and thought through."
Kevin Twittey, KRT Developments (client)