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FIRST LOOK

DROO completes building with ‘crumpled paper’ façade in east London

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The 1,550m² building was formerly an artists workshop and art supplies shop on Kingsland Road in Shoreditch

The Paintworks is a mixed-use building set within the Kingsland Conservation Area. DROO has converted and added to the original Victorian warehouse to become one- to three-bed apartments and office spaces. 

Bordering Hackney College to one side and Kingsland Road to the other, the site was tight and meant it was challenging to provide large amounts of glazing while retaining privacy to neighbouring properties.

Paintworks droo ©naaro 02

On the building’s exterior, a white textured ‘crumpled paper’ façade surrounds the minimalist structure as a reference to its history as artist studios, with large box bay windows as a nod to art canvases. This bespoke textured exterior has been made from a recycled resin and the concrete compound Acantha Papyrus – a sustainable material due to its high recycled content and its lightweight, heat-resistant and durable properties. 

The building’s retrofit also includes an extension to the basement level into the car park to the rear. The solid façade therefore sits back, appearing as if the existing building is nestled into a larger extension.

Paintworks droo ©naaro 12

Architect’s view

We sought to create layers of space within a thick façade of projecting glazed bay windows, which hang like picture frames on to the surrounding context. They create dialogue between the building’s past and future. The windows are both within and outside the envelope concurrently and create an in-between space within vast volumes, in which one may sit perched between the city and interior.

Droo.pwk drawing 190502 2 ground floor

Project data 

Start on site 2017
Completion date 2019
Gross internal floor area 1,550m²
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect DROO
Client Paintworks Property 
Structural engineer Fairhurst Structural Engineers
M&E consultant Carnell Warren
Façade consultant Carrea Facades
Main contractor Nofax
CAD software used Autocad, Rhino, 3DSMAX

Droo.pwk drawing 190502 7 hackney college facade elevation

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Who's going to realise that this building has a past - without being told?
    And I wonder how well the bright white 'crumpled paper' external finish will stand up to the local climate?

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