Whitehorse Street Development, London Building, Project, Design, Mayfair Property Image
Whitehorse Street Development
10-11 WHS, near Shepherd’s Market London, England, UK – design by Studio Seilern Architects
12 Apr 2010
Whitehorse Street Development
Design: Studio Seilern Architects
Whitehorse Street Development
10-11 WHS: Thinking about a building inside out
10-11 White Horse Street is a challenging site in an extraordinary location. Located between listed buildings on Shepherd’s Market, a Hilton hotel on Half Moon Street, and the future In and Out Club on White Horse Street, the site offers a building little more than 17% of street frontage, the remainder of the building being on an inner site.
The particularities of the site offer challenges, that can however be turned into opportunities. The scheme we are proposing responds directly to its site conditions, and creates an architecture that will offer a distinct identity to the apart-hotel, creating spaces of great quality. Its prime Mayfair location necessitates a redevelopment of the highest and enduring quality with the proposed apartments being for the high end of the market.
The proposed building will consist of a mixed use development, compromising of high-end residential apartments, apart-hotel, retail, and underground parking for the residences only.
The site is situated within the Mayfair Conservation Area. A number of listed buildings are located within the conservation area, none of which, however, are located within the site boundaries.
The area of the site totals 496 sq m, and consists of 3 distinct existing buildings, all of which are unlisted:
– A 1960’s structure that fronts onto Shepherd’s Market, which is of poor quality and does not contribute to the Conservation Area
– 10 Whitehorse Street, an unlisted building believed to date back to the eighteenth century.
– 11 White Horse Street, which is connected to and is an extension to the 60’s structure, itself being a 1960’s structure of no architectural quality.
The Challenges of the Site
The proposed site being an inner site poses a series of challenges to overcome. Changing its use from a nightclub (sui generis) to residential units will entail several constraints to tackle:
– The current building offers large floor plates of 424 sq m, with no natural light at ground and lower levels. These are therefore currently not suitable for a residential use.
– The existing building being located between the rear facades of the buildings on Half Moon Street and White Horse Street, suffers from very limited street frontage, and hence poor views into the rear of the surrounding buildings.
– In order to create high-end serviced apartments, the issue of frontage and views will have to be addressed.
– The access to the site is limited. To accommodate a parking garage at the lower levels, the only possible car access is from White Horse Street. In order to create an appropriate reception to the serviced apartments, we would suggest putting the reception on Shepherd’s street, and the vehicular ramp accessed from White Horse Street.
The site is an out-of-the-ordinary site that requires an extraordinary response. Its location in Mayfair makes it a prime location for a high-end residential development and serviced apartments. The challenges of the site outlined previously means that the existing building cannot work, as it has been designed as a traditional façade and slab building. This site required us to think outside of the box in order to create spatial opportunities within the site and resolve the aspects of views and natural light.
A residential building in an urban context consists of a street frontage, and a courtyard condition. In order to be able to keep high rental rates for the serviced apartments, one must be able to offer either street views or garden views. Views onto the backs of neighbouring buildings will simply not be good enough. The site therefore requires an intervention. Our solution anchors in turning the building inside-out.
In this proposal we aim to reverse the notion of a building within a park, and propose instead a park within a building.
The building is lifted off the ground plane, creating a large garden at lobby level, and offering landscaping and natural at the depth of the site. Access through Shepherd Street, which is narrow and quite dark, will lead to a double-height glass fronted reception, looking onto an open and well-lit garden. This is the base of the ‘vertical garden’ that rises through the upper level terraces.
The dilemma of multi-unit residential architecture is that essentially everybody wants a ‘cottage’, with its own identity, and sense of privacy. We could call this the anti-extrusion problem. The geometry of the scheme is generated by creating internalised facades that undulate to create interesting volumes, exterior terraces and beautiful garden frontages that compete in visual quality with street views.
Whitehorse Street Development London – Building Information
Project Name: Whitehorse Street Development
Timescale – Expected time for start of Construction: Nov 2010
Expected time for construction completion: May 2012
No. of apartments – that will be in the development : 9 Residential Units / 10 Serviced Apartments
Planning authority – Westminster Council
Current status: Pre-Planning
Whitehorse Street Development, London images / information from Studio Seilern Architects
Location: Whitehorse Street, London, England, UK
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