Subtle changes to the section of this Covent Garden building bring natural light flooding into the newly created volumes
FORM studio has completed a remarkable residential scheme on a pencil-thin site in the heart of Covent Garden.
An innovative spatial approach has transformed an unremarkable building, creating dramatic double-height volumes. The coherence of the design is reinforced by a high quality palette of materials, testament to the practice’s rigorous attention to detail.
The narrow, deep plan of this tall terraced late 19th-century building was ill-suited to its previous use as offices, with its centrally located lift and stair core, subdividing the floor plates into small inflexible spaces. However, this configuration was ideally suited to the creation of a distinctive residential space, with naturally lit rooms of domestic scale located to the front and rear, and support spaces located inboard around the retained central stairs and lift. A change of use was therefore recommended to our developer client and, contrary to local planning policy, planning consent was granted for a luxurious four-bedroom house.
The ‘heart’ of the scheme is undoubtedly the soaring 6m high double-height kitchen/dining space opening onto a newly created ground floor courtyard. An entry courtyard recessed behind a decorative metal screen echoes the proportions of a traditional shopfront and fits well within the Dutch-gabled brick front elevation. Storage spaces on the lower ground floor have been given new life as a state-of-the art cinema and gym. Sophisticated systems throughout control lighting, AV, heating/air con and blinds via hand-held tablets.
The top part of the building has also been reconfigured – the original hipped roof has been replaced in order to create an additional split-level studio floor – with terraces front and rear.
Fastidious attention to detailing, together with a fire engineered approach to layout (removing the necessity for lobbies), has created a sequence of calm and coherent interior volumes with a seamless spatial flow between the six floors of accommodation.