[First look] Plans by 6a Architects’ to overhaul a 1670s Chelsea mansion for Roman Abramovich have emerged
The top secret scheme for the Chelsea Football Club owner has been referred to local authority Kensington and Chelsea’s planning committee after receiving four objections.
The property comprises a Grade II-listed Georgian town house and a Grade II*-listed mansion dating from the 1670s which was once part of Lindsey House owned by Renaissance philosopher Thomas More. Previous residents include painter JM Whistler.
6a’s proposal introduces a new, cantilevered precast concrete staircase to the property while the historic buildings will be refurbished with twentieth century panelling replaced to improve thermal performance.
Recent high-profile restoration projects by the company include the RIBA Award-winning restoration of Grade I-listed Raven Row in Spitalfields and the transformation of the V&A’s Grade I-listed fashion gallery.
Working with Alan Baxter Associates, the studio has proposed elevating the height of a mansard roof and creating a new extension to the £25 million riverside house on Cheyne Walk.
A timber-clad 1960s garage extension will be replaced with a brick extension featuring a basement level which stretches beneath the premise’s courtyard while new landscaping is also planned to enhance the setting. An elevator has also been proposed.
Architectural historian Dan Cruickshank, Financial Times architecture critic Edwin Heathcote and Architecture Foundation director Sarah Ichioka were all consulted on the scheme.
Heathcote said: ‘The proposals are strong and compelling and contribute a rich new contemporary layer to the dwelling whilst referring to the very particular asymmetry of EW Godwin’s designs.’
Ichioka said the scheme was ‘fitting to a building that has acquired a cumulative and recombinant quality since its very earliest days that is should now sensitively incorporate an element of excellent 21st century architecture.’
Submitted to the local authority in April under the moniker Acmonius Investments, the project has now received four objections which is one more than needed to refer its approval to the committee.
A council spokesperson said: ‘We are in talks with the agents. This is a complex application given the number of stakeholders, so we are giving it due consideration.’
A resident told the Evening Standard: ‘I am most definitely against [Roman Abramovich’s] plans. I feel it is typical of these extremely rich people who just want to do whatever they want at everybody else’s expense.
They added: ‘It is not simply the changes to his home but what this will bring to us, two years of construction work and then a bigger property, more traffic, and potentially blocking the view of the river.’
Local residents include film producer Robert Bernstein and the neighbouring property is owned by rock star Mick Jagger, according to the paper.
Another resident told the Daily Mail the project ‘makes no reference to the fact that it is likely to wreck the views of the Thames from a number of flats.’
They added it would ‘create a dusty mayhem of a sprawling construction site in a peaceful conservation area’.
6a was appointed in February 2011 following a competition which saw the rising star studio beat ADAM Architecture and Christopher Smallwood to win the project.
A date for the committee has yet to be confirmed.
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