Following in the footsteps of its highly praised renovation of 55 Baker Street, Make has completed a stunning refurbishment and extension to a 1960’s apartment building for Ridgeford Properties Ltd. Except this time rather than fronting a major arterial route in the city, the most stunning elevation is hidden away in the heart of Marylebone.
Ridgeford Properties Ltd had identified a potential to extend the building and were acutely conscious of the Conservation Area status and the building’s close proximity to the RIBA, they understood that an extension of real merit was required.
When viewed from Weymouth Street or Hallam Street, only a cursory glance skywards would indicate that anything more than a standard refurbishment had just taken place at the serviced apartment building at 10 Weymouth Street; but the rear elevation of the building, undoubtedly best viewed from the RIBA terrace next door, has been strikingly extended horizontally and vertically to provide an additional 12 new luxury apartments all of which have been clad in a bold, statement-making brass.
Architect and partner at Make, Simon Bowden said: “Weymouth Street was a great building to work with, rather than demolish we opted to extend, we couldn’t do this vertically by more than one storey because of the conservation area restrictions, however, by making use of underutilised space at the rear we were able to push horizontally to create more accommodation that way. And this solution allowed us to do something a little more dramatic in an otherwise largely forgotten back street.
“Now when you walk down Bridford Mews, there is a bright full stop to herald the end. Of course, the bright, brass cladding will gracefully weather over time but this in itself makes the building appear as a ‘living’ entity and something that is adapting to its local environment. It is contextual and picks up the rhythms of the surrounding buildings but it is very much its own gutsy structure. The bright golden yellow of the brass will take around a year to 18 months to weather, dependent on the climate and will tone down to a rich brown to echo the shades of the surrounding buildings.”
Formed out of the bright brass are cantilevered balconies to the living spaces and bedrooms which maximise space and will shield the internal spaces from prying eyes whilst at the same time offering light by way of punctured screens designed by Make. The design of the screens is in fact a scaled down version of the main façade elevation itself. Arranged on the elevation, with the pattern cut out of them, the screens animate the internal spaces when the sun casts an intricate shadow of the main façade on each interior floor.
The refurbishment has also significantly improved the building’s energy rating; boasting excellent insulation qualities and being totally recyclable, brass is an efficient cladding choice in energy terms, furthermore a ground source heat pump provides low grade heat for pre-heating the water, underfloor heating and also provides the cooling for the apartment. A green meadow roof has been installed on a new stand-alone single-storey building to the rear. Here, plants will be sown into a mixture of sand and gravel, which will provide a habitat for birds, bees, and insects. It will also reduce rain water run off and provide insulation for the building below.
Development Director, Michael Keaveney said “We thoroughly enjoyed collaborating with Make who are to be commended for creating a stunning piece of architecture. It was a complex project on site and the close working relationships developed with consultants and contractors ensured that Make’s concept became reality without any compromises being necessary. The fact that the apartments were all sold or let within a month in a very tough market is very rewarding for Ridgeford and reinforces our philosophy of creating value by developing extraordinary buildings”.
Internally the apartments have been upgraded with Gaggenau, Siemens & Kuppersbusch appliances, along with walnut flooring, flat screen TVs, video entry phones a fully wired AV system . On-site services available include a 24-hour concierge, linen change, laundry cleaning and delivery and car valet. The new apartments are all designed to Lifetime Homes Standards and achieved an Ecohomes rating of Very Good.
All the units at 10 Weymouth Street have already been let or sold, but the development as a whole demonstrates effectively how a relatively undistinguished 1960s block can be given new life and a new identity, courtesy of imaginative but sensitive design. Resolutely urban, it is an honest, contextual response, enlivened by show-stopping balconies and an organic, ‘living’ skin of brass.Location: London, UK
Architect: Make Architects Make team: Ken Shuttleworth, Simon Bowden, Carsten Saelzer, Roderick Tong
Project date: 2006-2009
Client: Ridgeford Properties Ltd
Contractor: J Sisk & Sons
Alan Baxter & Associates – Structural Engineer
Maleon – M&E Engineer
G&T – QS and CDM
Drivers Jonas – Planning Consultant