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New local: MTA’s brick and larch-clad mixed-use scheme transforms old pub

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This development of eight flats, two live-work units and two commercial spaces designed by Michael Trentham Architects, re-animates the site and part-shell of a previously rundown public house in a conservation area

Located on the Wandsworth Road in London, in the Wandsworth Road Conservation Area, the façade of the public house was retained and restored, and commercial activity maintained to the street, in the form of commercial and live-work units.  A side extension, containing terraces and large openings facing Larkhall park, has a simple pared-back design harmonising with the 1960s parade of buildings that flank the site.

At the rear, overlooking a service road, the elevation has been opened up and animated with a series of setbacks, terraces and balconies, working down from behind the parapet of the old public house to a communal landscaped courtyard at street level. The upper floors are formed by a pair of duplexes, each marked by a structural glass box at its corner, part of the extensive use of glazed elements on the elevation, which ensure extensive views over Battersea and to Battersea Power Station.

The structure is steel framed with concrete metal deck, metsec, brick cladding with sedum roof, with the material palette a graphic combination of Normandy blue brick, untreated larch timber fins and anodised bronze aluminium cladding and window frames. This combination of textures, fins, cut-backs and balconies creates a rich play of vertical accents and shadow to further animate the building’s form.


Architect’s statement

We wanted to restore the fine example of a 1930s pub frontage and create a contemporary, contrasting rear and side extension, inspired by the linear 1960s parade buildings either side and elegant Crittal openings and craftsmanship of the pub.

We won planning permission in 2013 to extend the rear and side after lengthy and delicate negotiations with the Lambeth conservation and design team.

Our objective was to retain the Part A use on the ground floor, developing flexible live-work units to the rear ground floor, with residential above. The design evolved the haphazard, cascading boxy extensions of the previous building into a series of stepped balconies and terraces, pushing the limits of the steel frame, through cantilevering for the rear balconies. A mixture of brickwork and brick slips were used to allow the brick to return under the soffit of the rear colonnade giving a sense of a floating brick mass. This was contrasted with untreated larch fins, forming the balustrades and infill panels, that give the building a rich weaving of shadows in the afternoon and evening sun. The larch will oxidise to match the galvanised steel channels, dividing the floors of the main building and capping the brickwork.

We designed the openings to be full width and floor to ceiling were possible to make the spaces feel larger and flow out into the the uninterrupted views to the west. The structural glass enclosures on the top floors take this feeling of openness further, return over head and to the side, removing the boundary of the living areas and allowing views through the building from street level. 

Michael Trentham, managing director, MTA

GA30 east   west elevation EAcolours

Project data

Start on site April 2015
Completion March 2017
Gross internal floor area 1,080m²
Form of contract JCT/ICD2011
Construction cost £2.3m
Construction cost per m² £1,850 
Architect  MTA (Michael Trentham Architects)
Client Terramek Ltd
Structural engineer Scott Crawford,  MPNUK LTD
M&E consultant KUT
Quantity surveyor MTA
Acoustic consultant Soundsolution 
CDM coordinator Rob Slater Clearwater Safety
Main contractor Simon Dunning, Mono Urban Spaces
Approved building inspector Chris Butler, Assent Building Control
CAD software used AutoCad lite 2013, Sketchup
Annual CO2 emissions Energy efficient rating of 80

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