Architects: Sergison Bates.
Location:  London, GB.
Year: 2004.
Photographs: Ioana Marinescu.

The site is situated on a plot of vacant land on a street lined with light industrial structures and substantial pre-war dwelling blocks in an area of East London that was once semi-industrial but is now crowded and fragmented in nature. The project suggests a shape that is confusing because it can be seen as either an urban residence or a straightforward industrial shed. The complicated requirements of the brief, which called for four distinct programmes (two apartments, an artist’s studio, and a space for a therapy office), the remarkable site footprint (4.5 x 20 m), and planning restrictions on massing and sightlines all contributed to the creation of the design.

The building’s straightforward overall form can accommodate the stacking of various spatial volumes thanks to the timber-framed construction. Since vertical Douglas fir studs can be seen in the structural openings of windows and internal spaces, the softwood frame’s expression becomes a significant component of the architectural language. By the misalignment of the structure and cladding as well as the use of semi-reflective glass that covers both solid and void alike, external claddings and windows are detailed as additional layers to the framed framework and become visible. The brick skin, which makes up the majority of the building’s envelope, is modelled as a rough wrapping with loosely bagged mortar joints, giving the structure a soft and highly textured exterior.