Collector’s Flat Interior, Central London Building, London Apartment Refurb, Architecture Images
Collector’s Flat Interior, Central London
25 Feb 2020
Collector’s Flat in London
Design: MATA Architects
Location: Central London, England, UK
Extensive refurbishment and interiors fit out of the central London Collector’s Flat in a mansion block originally constructed at the turn of the 19th century. The works included substantial structural modifications altering the flat’s layout and introducing new services.
The flat had been vacant for some time, with the last owner having lived there for almost 40 years, during which time no discernible works or modernization had occurred. The flat was in need of extensive works including new services (electrical & plumbing).
Our client, a couple with two teenage children (both at or starting university) were downsizing from a large house. They wanted to transform the existing 4 bed flat into a 3 bed flat of the highest quality. The transformation would include structural alterations to the layout and new services for new bathrooms.
As collectors of art and antiques, our client’s brief centred on the desire to create space (wall & floor) to display and enjoy their collection in their day-to-day lives.
The flat had not been modernized in over 40 years. Whilst in many respects this offered huge opportunities for total transformation, it also meant that the layout was of a totally different era; many small and compartmentalized rooms where now more open space is wanted. MATA Architects would need to remove walls and sections of walls strategically in order to open up the flat. However, being on the second floor of a six storey mansion block meant this was not straight forward.
There was a single bathroom servicing 4 bedrooms and adding bathrooms (which was a requirement) meant finding solutions to creating new connections to drainage, water etc. All of these new services needed to be coordinated seamlessly and invisibly with the architecture and interior design.
From the outset MATA Architects saw an opportunity to be unlocked with the large hallway. On the one hand it was grand in scale. On the other, however, it was an internal ‘room’; windowless and dark, a long corridor of monofunctional circulation space. It could be so much more.
MATA Architects started by exploring 2 radically different potential layouts for the flat. Both options had one principle in common; the large hallway was treated as an additional ‘room’ that opened up and flowed into the living spaces. In so doing the hallway benefitted from ‘borrowed’ natural light and views through adjacent rooms and out to the street. It was no longer internal in nature.
The layout MATA Architects chose worked in as far as practically possible, with most of the services. The kitchen remained in the same location, as did the living and dining rooms but the architects sought to open up these spaces more to one another and to the hallway. The architects spent a long time assessing various structural solutions with our structural engineer; from full demolition of walls in the living areas to more strategic and local demolition of sections of walls. MATA Architects found that the more strategic, surgical demolition not only saved our client money, but also responded to a central part of the client brief to create or preserve wall space for the display of artwork.
Retaining sections of wall also contributes to a layering of the space; a more nuanced rendering of spaces where one space leads on to another and another…
The client is a couple with two teenage sons at university. This project saw them downsizing from a large house as the boys are no longer living full time at home. This was an opportunity to de clutter their lives, forcing them to evaluate and keep only those items that held real value to them.
As collectors of art and antiques (predominantly mid 20th century) there was a focus at each design stage on how and where items would be housed, walled etc. This was one factor that influenced decision making with regards to the extent of demolition. Where one client, for instance, would choose to remove a given wall in it’s entirety, here the client chose to retain sections in order to preserve walls for hanging art.
The flat has a 20m x 1.8m long hallway running through the middle as an axis. Prior to refurbishment the hall was closed off with doors leading to adjacent rooms. This rendered the hall a cut off and single use circulation space.
The strategic demolition of a section of wall between living room and hall extends the hallway into the living space, blurring the boundaries between the two and bringing natural daylight from the South facing living space deep into the long hallway. This helped to position the hallway as an extension of the living space and a sort of gallery space for the display of artwork.
Collector’s Flat Interior, London – Building Information
Architect, Lead Consultant: MATA Architects
Structural Engineer: Webb Yates
M&E: Prospero Projects
Project size: 270 sqm
Completion date: 2019
Building levels: 1
Key products used:
Taps and Showers: Vola
Lighting: Optelma, Deltalight
Stone Flooring: Lithos
Domus tiles in bathrooms
Photographs © Peter Landers
Collector’s Flat Interior in Central London images / information received 250220
Location: London, England, UK
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