EDGE APARTMENTS Architect: Quad Architects Housebuilder: Quad Projects (Riverdale) English writer Horace Walpole famously transformed his modest Twickenham home into a mini Gothic castle called Strawberry Hill - now one of Britain's finest examples of Georgian architecture. More than 250 years later, Chiswick-based Quad Architects has created, in the judges' opinion, a classic example of Modernist architecture in the same spot. In an unprecedented burst of instantaneous approval, the panel declared Edge Apartments to be 'quietly assured' and 'beautifully detailed'.
The three-storey development of eight homes - completed in April 2005 and retailing at between £275,000 and £800,000 - is set in about a quarter of a hectare of landscaped riverside gardens.
Its crisp concrete frame, arguably a nod to Denys Lasdun's concrete classics, was described as imaginative yet elegant. The innovative use of glass, timber and stone, said the judges, illustrated that luxury and taste were not mutually exclusive, as suggested by so much Modern architecture.
Glass-box windows in both the front and rear elevations bathe the apartments in natural light, throwing the interior specifications into sharp focus.
It is here that dynamic architecture can easily be let down in the hands of interior designers with bigger budgets than sense.
Clearly, that is not the case with Edge Apartments. Stylishly subtle materials - walnut ooring, American oak interior doors, stainless-steel ironmongery, limestone and granite surfaces - have ensured that the complex does not reek of 'Surrey stock broker' excess. The design has an integrity that shines through, reported the judges.
Only time will tell whether Edge Apartments ever attracts the status of its quirky Gothic neighbour.
It has much in its favour - crucially, the fact that the original design was not diluted when implemented.
This, insisted the panel, sends a clear message to housebuilders to trust the instincts of architects.
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