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Architecture Monday

September 5, 2016

A quick adaptive reuse project tonight from David Adjaye & company, in the heart of London.  Born of a brick warehouse long fallen into decay, a few simple moves (and a lot of black paint) reinvented it into a whole new realm.

Overall, the transformation is kept relatively simple, using both mirrored windows and deeply set windows to enhance the character of the existing building.  The almost perfect cube keeps its weighty presence, enhanced even further by the uniform black paint.   By filling in the patchwork of plaster on the ground floor, a subtle progression is created, from smooth(ish) black to the more textured brick above that brings a surprising richness to the dark surface.  Similarly, the deep set windows really let you feel the thickness of those old brick walls.  The mirrored windows on the ground floor reflect the colourful surroundings, creating an ever-shifting gallery of the surroundings.

But the one move that really sets the composition right is the addition of the floating roof.  Hovering above the massive bunker, the juxtaposition is really striking, especially when lit at night.  The narrow slot also lets in light for the living quarters on the top floor, with floor-to roof sheets of glass.  Below, a large studio space comprises the majority of the volume.

A wonderful conversion, taking the qualities of the existing building and pushing them forward through reduction and a luminous, hovering crown.

As a bonus, here’s an interview with Sue Webster, the owner of the building/studio, as she describes working with David and how the building came together (while also showing off additional views of the interior):

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