London-based practice Form Studio has completed a £1.5million transformation of a 3.5m-wide office in London’s Covent Garden into a townhouse
The terraced building, with a Dutch-gabled front elevation, was originally constructed in the late 19th Century. It had been used as an office building with circulation organised around a centrally located lift and stair core.
According to the practice, the client felt the subdivided spaces were no longer fit for purpose and decided to convert the building into a four bedroom house.
Accessed through a sheltered courtyard, separated from the street by a decorative metal screen, the ground floor accommodates a 6m-high kitchen and dining space that opens out onto newly created courtyard garden. On the floor above a mezzanine library shares the vast window onto the exterior and links to a living room at the front of the building.
The bedrooms straddle the lift and stair core on the floors above and the uppermost floor has been reconfigured by removing a hipped roof to create an additional split-level studio floor with terraces front and rear.
The basement contains a cinema, gym and the plant room.
Architect’s View - Malcolm Crayton
‘Our client initially planned simply to refurbish the existing office building, but its constrained, inflexible workspaces ruled out the possibility of a high quality work environment. Instead, we recommended a change of use, securing planning permission contrary to local policy for a luxurious four-bedroom townhouse.
‘[We have] developed something of a speciality in adding value to unpromising plots by radically rethinking the site’s potential through imaginative, adaptive transformation of redundant spaces, such as our Flatiron House and Botolph Lane apartments.
‘Key to the project’s success was to maximise natural light, achieved by cutting back part of the floorplate (the spatial benefits outweighing the loss of floorspace) to create a double-height kitchen/dining space, plus an airy studio floor and terraces on top of the building.
‘New and existing fabric has high levels of insulation and air-tightness while Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery systems, air-source heat pumps and low-energy LED lighting help limit environmental impact.
‘A limited palette of high-quality materials has created a calm, restful environment.’
Architects FORM studio *
Furniture & Soft furnishings Elizabeth Bowman Ltd.
Landscaping & planting Bloomingbells
Quantity Surveyors PT Projects
M&E Consultant Milieu Consult
Structural Engineer Price & Myers
Planning Consultant Washbourne Field Planning
Main Contractor: 3 Interior Contracts Ltd.
Floor area Approx. 436 m2 (4,690 sq.ft.)