Our client was the Turkish Consulate in London, which owns a four-storey building in the Knightsbridge Conservation Area. The top storey of the existing Grade II-listed building is a much later addition (built around 1970), partially steel-framed with brick and timber/slate perimeter walls.
Maximising the use of space in the property was our client’s aim, but with the need for Listed Building Consent and the constraints of working in a conservation area, it wouldn’t be easy. They asked Urbanist Architecture if we could come up with an imaginative solution that would satisfy Westminster council’s desire to protect the character of this historic area while giving our clients the extra space and light they wanted.
Increasingly in London, planning authorities are reluctant to allow property owners to build out, but will encourage them to build up. So more and more, we are going to be living in the age of the creative mansard extension. Your architect’s job is to design something that is sympathetic to the original building and respectful of the neighbour’s rights to light and privacy while providing you with the additions to your property you are after.
Here, our solution was to replace the top storey – which was not part of the original building – with a double-storey mansard extension built using highly sustainable materials, and adding plenty of natural light. With the additional space created, the Consulate could then be renovated, with carefully thought-out interior design and high-specification fittings. The result was an addition and refurbishment that enhanced a listed building in the heart of London.
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