Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Shoreditch Church Penthouse in London, England by Space Group Architects
September 25th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Space Group Architects
Shoreditch is no longer up and coming; it is already here, it is alive and it is buzzing. This part of London has been gradually transformed from an arty but gritty neighbourhood into one of the capital’s most desirable areas without having lost its charm.It was our aim to capture this special moment in time. Theexisting building sits in a conservation area and used to contain dysfunctional offices throughout. Part of the brief was to achieve a Change of Use for a duplex penthouse at the top.
The warehouse character has been enhanced by exposing the existing concrete structure and shot-blasting it and by juxtaposing it with a matt, smooth, seemingly joint-less rubber floor. Contrasting shaggy carpet inserts define zones of use within the vast open area. The centrepiece of the living room is a bespoke sofa which is semi-sunken into the raised floor and sits right underneath a glazed and mirrored atrium.
This atrium has been inserted underneath a refurbished skylight to enable light to penetrate into the floor below. Double mirroring effects in combination with two adjacent alcoves have been utilized for surprising views and an enhanced natural light distribution.
An open plan stainless steel kitchen adds to the sense of space: Its typical cooking activities are tucked away into the corner of the L-shaped main space whilst an abstract monolithic stainless steel block extends proud into the open space. Enormous sliding doors open up towards a balcony allowing views past Shoreditch church towards the sunrise whilst sitting at the breakfast bar.
The upper floor is reached via a bespoke stainless steel grating spiral staircase. Whilst subtly sparkling in the daylight it also casts interesting shadows across the smooth surrounding surfaces. Fully glazed and situated within a semi-circular bay which cantilevers over the floors below the vertical route is accompanied by dramatic sunset views across the rails towards central London. The cantilevering steps and their heavy but see through balustrades add to the drama.
The entire ceiling of the upper floor consists of an uncovered and shot-blasted concrete soffit and the large refurbished skylight giving the bedrooms a raw but light atmosphere. The discrete full height wall-to-wall wardrobes are made of handle-less (push release) high-pressure gloss laminated panels. Their featureless surface and reflectiveness sits in stark contrast with the other materials. Bespoke beds are seemingly cantilevering off their head boards. The master bedroom bed sits in the centre of the room and butts up against a free standing shelving unit. The back of the shelves is clad in foamed aluminium panels which have been encapsulated in clear resin. Apart from the intriguing surface qualities of this material these panels also allow light to filter through in both directions depending on the time of the day.
The finishes in the bathrooms are an elegant continuation of the rubber finish on floors and walls in combination with silver riven slate strip tiles. The master bathroom is spilt up into three areas: A basin zone which is open towards the bedroom, a separate discrete WC and a playfully large wet room. The latter contains a bath tub which is semi-sunken into the raised floor and a gigantic rain maker shower head which hangs suspended at high level underneath the skylights. Natural slate chips complete the apparent outdoor shower experience. The stone chips sit flush but loose against the adjacent floor finish with all the drainage hidden.
Planning permission has also been obtained for a new roof top terrace offering spectacular unobstructed views across London.
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