London-based studio, LTS Architects has completed an ambitious redevelopment of two former workshop buildings and retail space that pushes the boundaries of architecture and craftsmanship to create a unique and contemporary home in Knightsbridge, London.
Located in a complex urban surrounding with limited flexibility, a unique ‘hidden house’ concept has been created by LTS so any aspect of the new design cannot be viewed from street level or passers-by. One of the biggest challenges was that the original purpose of the site was never to be a home so lacked natural light and space. It also couldn’t be extended, either vertically up into the space above or horizontally out due to the constrained site footprint, therefore the design team had to work around the existing space and sensitively create areas that would allow for natural light in the otherwise dark basement, while at the same time avoiding any overlooking issues from the neighbouring properties.
A whole new aspect to the building was introduced through the creation of a pitched glazed roof, held together with laminated plywood beams that were prefabricated by a specialist joinery company. The team had to work within the constraints of the historic brickwork walls and engineer the structural beams so they would make the uneven, existing building appear balanced and symmetrical in the final space that was created. This design approach has transformed the internal areas into a completely reimagined space, which allows natural light to permeate the interior while maintaining visual privacy and defining the interior living areas.
Greg Shannon, Director at LTS Architects, said:
“This has been a once in a lifetime project for everyone involved. Despite appearances, we have completely rebuilt and restructured the existing building to design the Hidden House and create a truly unique home for the owners. We hope it sets a new standard in design and demonstrates how we can make smaller homes beautiful and liveable by utilising space and light.”
A material palette of ash faced plywood, oak, exposed brick and bronze creates a modern yet warm aesthetic, while the rooflights provide a flow of daylight and natural ventilation to the lower levels of the home, which includes two double bedrooms and a master bedroom with en-suite bathroom.
Working within the footprint of the original building, the house follows an ‘L’ shaped layout. The main living areas are arranged as a sequence of seamless open-plan spaces, including a mezzanine study level tucked away within the roof pitch. To encourage light and air to flow through the lower levels of the property, including the deeper plan areas, LTS created a lightwell partially covered with a glass floor which allows light through the dining room floor and into the spaces beneath. To allow light and air to the basement bedrooms at the rear, a sunken courtyard garden provides further daylight, ventilation and desired outside space.
The lower level of the home contains three double bedrooms and two bathrooms in total, with the master bedroom slightly secluded in the furthest corner to ensure privacy. Located underground, the space benefits from some unusual historic features including two original arched pavement vaults converted into the en-suite bathroom, which utilises space while retaining the historical period features of the building.
The end result is testament to the expert craftsmanship from the project team and their dedication and passion for the project, which has resulted in a contemporary home that pushes the boundaries of architecture to create a modern home fit for any family.