Charlotte Road House, New Shoreditch Property, London Building, Project, Photo, Design, Image
Charlotte Road House
Shoreditch Residential Development, London Architecture – design by Stephen Taylor Architects
6 Feb 2010
Charlotte Road Property
Three Small Houses, Shoreditch
Design: Stephen Taylor Architects
The site of this project represents the remaining piece of Charlotte Road to have escaped redevelopment in the nineteenth century. At that time, most of the small eighteenth-century, one-room-deep cottages were replaced with full plot developments of larger scale warehouse and workshop buildings that served the neighbourhood’s burgeoning industrial economy. The significance of developing the entirety of such a plot, where a rear yard as well as the front street once brought light and air, brings particular challenges to this mixed-use work and residential project.
Like its adjacent sites, the gradual intensification throughout the twentieth century of the urban block to which this site belongs has established an immediate context of abutting its neighbours’ walls. This condition places a special value on both the front elevation and the roof in their potential for bringing light and air into the site.
The ground and basement floors are designed for commercial uses such as a showroom or gallery. Strategically placed holes within the ground-floor concrete slab to facilitate future stair positions and shared light from the ground-floor facade allow these floors to work together spatially as well as functionally.
The first floor is designed to function optionally as an autonomous live-work space; it is the one floor that allows the entire elevation to be part of a single big space. Four large floor-to-ceiling windows march equally across the facade as a slight variance to the floor above, where two smaller rooms are expressed as a pair of windows. The wall between is reduced to a frame of columns and lintels and communicates its elemental system of off-site construction.
These second-floor rooms form part of a grouping of bedrooms for the principal apartment, whose public rooms are on the third floor. Annexed from the main vertical circulation to the living spaces above, the bedrooms “give” onto a centrally placed timber-lined inner chamber that lies at the heart of the apartment’s private realm. Light and air are brought into this chamber as well as into the rear bedroom via a small inner courtyard that penetrates the roof and third floor to descend deep into the dwelling. An external stair within this courtyard provides an alternative route and spatial connection to a second courtyard on the third-floor level. Screened from the street by the front parapet, two panels of perforated brick walls infill the column and the building’s lintel-framed facade.
The client’s brief for 65-66 Charlotte Road was to create a mix of commercial and residential uses. The site was previously occupied by a two-storey building, the lowest on the street. With commercial uses on the basement, ground, and first floors, the main driver economically was to create a family apartment on the upper levels.
Planning and Rights of Light constraints limited the height on the street to three storeys, but permitted an additional floor when set back. This exception triggered an opportunity for an external space at the front, one of three that would, in the planning and layout of the apartment, bring varying ways of daylighting the interior of a site that was landlocked on three sides.
Externally, the building is constructed of concrete block with a dark-BROWN brick facade. The internal construction consists of a timber floor with steel beams, and plasterboard walls.
Charlotte Road House images / information from Stephen Taylor Architects
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Charlotte Road House Building