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FIRST LOOK

High-end Westminster residential block reinterprets the bay window

  • 1 Comment

The residential development, designed by DROO in collaboration with NAME architecture, features distinctive curved glazing

Boutique development V1 Castle Lane, containing 28 apartments and three townhouses, is in Westminster’s historic Birdcage Walk Conservation Area, bounded by Birdcage Walk and St James’s Park to the north and Westminster Abbey to the east. 

The scheme reinterprets the traditional English bay window as a curving contemporary design. Responding to the site’s protected conservation area, the project’s complex volume uses undulating walls to negotiate its varied urban surroundings, which include both mansions and townhouses. 

Droo.wkc castlelane 03 naaro

The project, designed by DROO in collaboration with NAME architecture, was initiated by Landsec and then overseen to completion by luxury developer Sons & Co. The initial brief was to create an ‘innovative’ residential development for a complex site spanning two streets of differing character: terraced townhouses to the west and Victorian mansion blocks to the east. As a result, a generous circulation core inspired by the mansion block has been merged with more domestic-scaled townhouses.

The fluctuation between taller apartment blocks and individual townhouses is negotiated by creating a sculpted volume of convex and concave bends of curved glass, simultaneously aiming to both respond to local constraints and offer a new façade type. 

Droo.wkc castlelane 09 mdcg

Architect’s view

The extensive cataloguing of surrounding architectonics, including both the window elements and brick masonry, has resulted in an asymmetrical design extending tangentially from the façade plane. The curved ‘bow’ window moves from planar to tightly curved glass, creating augmented visual effects in and out. This elegantly extends from the building to enlarge the living space internally while the window presents a semi-external spatial experience offering spectacular views of the city from within. A floating space – simultaneously inside and outside.

Michel Da Costa Goncalves, director, DROO

The building’s fabric is composed with an approach to interpreting the existing materials in a contemporary manner. In continuity with the brick techniques common to the area, we introduced  subtle recessing in the brickwork to ensure a continuous appearance at an urban scale but with enough difference to indentify between mansion apartments and townhouses. This interpretative vocabulary continues through into the steelwork - differentiating between historical and new build while creating a successful dialogue between the two.

Nathalie Rozencwajg, director, NAME architecture

Wkc.pa 14060b roofplan 140909 cleanned 3

Project data

Start on site January 2016
Completion date November 2018
Gross (internal + external) floor area 4,600m²
Form of contract Design and build
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect DROO in collaboration with NAME architecture
Client Landsec (prior to planning); Sons & Co (post-planning)
Interior architect Daniel Goldberg Designs
M&E consultant chapmanbdsp
Structural engineer Parmarbrook
Quantity surveyor McBains
Planning consultant Gerald Eve
Property consultant Montagu Evans
Façade consultant Arup Facades
Party wall consultant Deloitte UK
Acoustic consultant Applied Acoustic Design (AAD)
Fire consultant BuroHappold
Inclusive design consultant BuroHappold
Transport consultant Momentum
Environmental consultant Waterman Group
Landscape design Hyland Edgar Driver
Surveyor Plowman Craven

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • In a conservation area? Is this really the right place for a bit of self-serving over-scale look-at-me banality?

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