Surprisingly to some, not all architectural projects taken on by our team start at the very beginning. Instead, many of the clients we work with choose our team to help them at the technical design stage of the project, once they’ve obtained planning permission with the help of another firm. This can happen for a whole host of reasons, for example if a client would like to add more value to their project, or if they’re eager for a different look or feel than what’s been proposed by the original team. While it may sound unusual, it’s quite a common (if at times complex) practice in architecture, and it’s a challenge we’re always thrilled to accept.
This project was a fun task; a single dwelling home would be redesigned to house eight different flats within one building, increasing the density of the address while paying homage to the visual beauty held by the original home. We did this by retaining certain features, such as the wooden bollards at the front of the property which we redesigned the entrance around, as well as the original house plaque which adds a classic touch to the Edwardian-style design. Shades of the Arts and Crafts style were also worked in, which you can see most clearly in the asymmetry of the design as well as the use of mixed materials. A key part of our role coming in at the technical design stage was to take the existing plans and use our skills to optimise the layout of the space while elevating the overall look of the home both inside and out.
Not only would the redesign be a valuable investment for the client, allowing them to maximise their property’s worth and rent out the new flats as they please, but it would also be a valuable addition to the community, an answer to Britain’s housing shortage, creating eight homes where there once was only one.
The most pressing part of this project was ensuring our design would remain cost effective for the client while not compromising on the aesthetic appeal of the residence. This involved close collaboration and communication with the client, with Structural Engineers, Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, Transport Consultants and Party Wall Surveyors, to ensure expectations would be met and that trouble wouldn’t crop up at the construction phase. At Urbanist Architecture, we pride ourselves on not just our craftsmanship, but on our technical strategies that allow us to effectively balance quality with cost and time. We’re of the belief it’s an integral part of what has made our business a success to date and this project is no exception.
Transforming a single dwelling home into one with eight flats takes time to get right, as we not only wanted to maximise the space but to ensure the flats were individually light and airy in their own right. We achieved this through thoughtful layout configuration as well as window placement. Further, the landscaping of the rear garden makes better use of the generously sized space, and even incorporates a play area for the younger residents to enjoy. It was also important to the client to provide parking solutions on their property, so we redesigned the entrance of the home to maximise that area, which now features six parking spots.
To us, this project is the perfect example of exactly what the Urbanist Architecture team is capable of. Taking ownership alongside the client at this mid-project stage is an immensely satisfying task, and finding effective solutions as to how we can improve original plans and better align them with the client’s goals is absolutely one of the most satisfying parts of the gig.
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