Defoe RoadIndustrial Games Room, London
After extensive residential re-developments in the surrounding area, the property had become landlocked inside a courtyard, difficult to access and in need of a full refurbishment. Limited access through a gated entrance made it difficult for large vehicles to enter the site and the close proximity of neighbours made it important to limit disruption where possible.
Complex negotiations were required to gain a right of way for access and to reinstate services across third party land requiring an excavated 90m trench as well as planning permission for the building’s new use. This added to the logistical complexities of renovating a historical building with major structural problems on a difficult site. Reduced access required a kit of parts that were fabricated off site, with each component small and light enough for two people to carry through the courtyard.
Working closely with a design engineer, a series of complex structural interventions were implemented to minimise visible structure within the double height space. Embedding steel A-frame trusses with cable rod connections and a high-level perimeter ring beam with concrete corner bonders hold the original brick envelope together and support the recycled slate roof.
The interior of the house has been designed with an industrial feel for modern, everyday living. Taking advantage of a stepped profile in the envelope, the kitchen sits flush, carved into the double height wall. The black marble splash back and matched oak veneer door fronts combine with the spruce panelled staircase to create moments of contrasting materiality.
With space at a premium and large numbers of vacant plots and undeveloped sites across London, this sympathetic conversion has transformed an abandoned building into a double height light-filled house that improves the fabric of the surrounding site and brings life back to a neglected corner of London.
Interior Stylist: Emma Archer
Photographer: Rory Gardiner