Construction is nearing completion on this new workshop in London Bridge Road for jewellery designer Alex Monroe by architect DSDHA
Slotted between a pub and a corner-shop, the 200m² scheme features a Cor-ten steel external ‘veil’ behind which sits a generous ‘social staircase’.
The workshop is DSDHA’s second project for Monroe and follows on from the £440,000 Stephen Lawrence Prize-shortlisted Snowsfields Studio in nearby Bermondsey which completed in 2012 (see AJ 04.09.14).
The architect’s view
The new-built workshop presents an enigmatic and finely crafted storefront. Its bespoke Cor-ten steel external skin responds to the eclectic surrounding brick architecture, while clearly signalling the building’s function as being neither retail nor residential. Its materiality hints at a world of creativity and artistry; it marks the presence of a type of activity that, although at risk of disappearing, is now more than ever central to our city’s cultural and economical well-being and as such deserves recognition.
The façade’s horizontal metal blades establish a rhythmic harmony with the composition and articulation of the immediate streetscape, whilst achieving a moiré-like visual effect. This veiled appearance acts as a protective shield, which modulates light within the workshop while allowing passers-by at ground level to catch a few glimpses of the activities inside. It is an architecture in conversation with its context, and also with the people that pass by or inhabit the area.
Inside, a generous ’social staircase’ is located at the entrance – just behind the street façade – connecting, both visually and acoustically, the different floors, activities and users within. A roof terrace provides a verdant refuge for the artisans, away from both the busy street and the close-work of jewellery making. Light is constantly modulated and captured to channel as sense of connectivity with nature throughout the building and enhancing well-being. These architectural devices continue the narrative established at Snowsfields Studio – aiming to provide convivial workspaces capable of mediating between the interior sphere and the city, between making at a small scale and participating in wider world-networks. In so doing they preserve and nurture creativity and the cultural infrastructure that still persists in our city and enriches it.
Location: 42 Tower Bridge Road, London, SE1 4TR
Type of project: Commercial (Jewellery Workshop)
Client: Alex Monroe
Landscape architect: N/A
Planning consultant: N/A
Structural engineer: Structure Workshop
M&E consultant: Integration
Quantity surveyor: PT Projects
Planning supervisor: N/A
Lighting consultant: N/A
Main contractor: Philiam Construction
Tender date: May 2015
Start on site date: September 2015
Completion date: Winter 2016
Contract duration: 13 months
Gross internal floor area: approx. 200m²
Form of contract and/or procurement: Traditional procurement / JCT Standard Building Contract with Quantities