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FIRST LOOK

31/44 completes Shoreditch urban block redevelopment for Soho House

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Redchurch Townhouse is the second phase of a redevelopment undertaken by 31/44 Architects for the members’ club and hotel chain

Bounded by Redchurch Street, Club Row and Whitby Street in Shoreditch, east London, Redchurch Townhouse (phase 2) has been completed following on from Redchurch Corner (phase 1), which 31/44 Architects designed for Soho House in 2016. The two-phase project was originally commissioned by private equity firm Raycliff prior to the partnership with Soho House.

The site’s redevelopment began in 2015. The first phase extended, refurbished and reclad a 1960s two-storey light industrial building on the corner of Redchurch Street and Club Row. The 2,380m² building houses Allpress Espresso and J.Crew in commercial space at street level, with a 16-room boutique hotel above. Two new floors and a basement were added to create the five-storey building.

05 3144 redchurchtownhouse rorygardiner

The second phase saw the addition of a slim building on Redchurch Street, connecting phase 1 to an adjacent Georgian terrace. This redeveloped a dilapidated single-storey building running through from Redchurch Street to Whitby Street into an extension to the existing bedrooms on Redchurch Corner. The project also included a two-storey basement excavation and building four storeys above ground, more than doubling the size of the existing building and increasing the number of bedrooms in the hotel from 16 to 37. A reception lobby has been added along with a restaurant at ground floor.

Together, the design of the entire urban block’s facades mediate between the predominantly Georgian architecture of Redchurch Street and the industrial character of Whitby Street. Redchurch Townhouse continues a similar design language to that applied to Redchurch Corner – defined by a layered facade of charcoal concrete infill panels. However, with Redchurch Townhouse, columns are introduced on the upper floors.

On Whitby Street, which is parallel to Redchurch Street, the facade is articulated by a series of columns, taking inspiration from the Victorian industrial typology prevalent in local warehouses and allowing larger openings to be made on to this quieter, mews-like street. A full-width entrance, reminiscent of a goods entrance, is set back from the street and leads directly into the reception, bar and restaurant. 

On Redchurch Corner, a continuous concrete band runs around the building, adjusting the proportions of the ground floor and creating a more defined street-level facade. The two new upper floors are lighter in colour to reduce the impact of the scheme and retain memory of the brick-faced concrete-frame original building. 

The window openings on both buildings have been scaled to respond to the more domestic nature of the urban block and match the scale of the rooms behind. 

31/44 won planning for the transformation of this phase of the scheme in May 2015, with the shell and ground-floor retail spaces being completed by February 2016. Phase 2 was completed at the end of last year.

The interior design for both buildings was undertaken by Soho House Design. 

07 3144 redchurchtownhouse rorygardiner

Architect’s view

Shoreditch has a very particular character to it – it’s both somewhat refined Georgian and rough and tough industrial. We are conscious that gentrification is too often synonymous with homogeneity; stripping areas of the innate city character that helped kickstart its regeneration in the first place. This project very carefully seeks to find an architecture that is both contemporary and civic, but also appropriate, and that builds upon the character of the area. The facades respect the context – matching the scale and solidity of their neighbours – and the massing was painstakingly configured to minimise any impact on adjacent buildings. 

The first phase’s refurbishment and extension to the corner building of the urban block created a refined focus to the crossroads. In the second phase we added a slim building that carefully stitches phase one to the adjacent Georgian terrace. To the rear, on the more industrial Whitby Street, now the entrance to the hotel, we developed an architectural language which retained the industrial quality of the road – a facade of columns and beams diagrammatically represents the most straightforward building we could imagine. With the widespread familiarity of classical architecture, this composition represents an architecture that we recognise as being public and civic.

Will Burges, director, 31/44 Architects

Redchurchtownhouse 003 proposed ground floor plan

Project data 

Start on site May 2015 (Phase 1); January 2017 (Phase 2)
Completion July 2016 (Phase 1); September 2018 (Phase 2)
Gross internal floor area 930m² (Phase 1); 1,450m² (Phase 2)
Site area 198m² (Phase 1); 347m² (Phase 2)
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect 31/44 Architects
Client Soho House & Co
Structural engineer Blue Engineering (Phase 1); Capita (Phase 2)
M&E consultant Con-Serv (Phase 1); Milieu Consult (Phase 2)
Main contractor Neilcott (Phase 1); In House Design & Build (Phase 2)
QS Beadmans
Project manager Beadmans
Interior design Soho House Design 

Redchurchtownhouse 008 proposed section

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