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Tex-Tonic House 1

Tex-Tonic House 1

The idea of substance is crucial to the work of Paul McAneary Architects. In its most obvious manifestation substance speaks of physical materiality and the haptic quality of architecture – what things are made of and how they are put together. It also alludes to a rigour underscoring both the ideas behinds buildings and their actual construction. Typically, this takes the form of a craft-based approach to detailing and fabrication, often as a result of research and experimentation.

Tex-Tonic House 1 forms part of a project for the conversion of two luxury apartments on the top floor of a former Post Office building in central London. In both cases, the way in which materials are wrought, manipulated and repurposed gives the architecture an expressive contemporary resonance.

Within a fluidly open plan, double-height volume, space is defined and demarcated by a series of orthogonal elements.  As the client enjoys entertaining, they required a versatile living space for parties and relaxation. Enclosed by oak walls, two bedroom boxes are set at the end of the long living room, nestling under its pitched roof structure. Paul McAneary Architects experimented with various types of surface treatments and finally alighted on a method of wire-brushing and sand blasting with a caustic soda finish to give the oak a weathered appearance. Further experiments with fabrication experiments yielded the distinctive monolithic concrete fireplace, which was cast in situ.

A new timber lattice structure supports a specially designed acoustic ceiling to dampen echo and reverberations within the large single volume. An elegantly thin mezzanine floor is suspended from the roof structure creating a long gallery that seems to float above the living space. The idea of the house as an urban eyrie, functional yet appealing intimately to the senses, finds powerful expression in this cultivated synthesis of space, light and materials. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value £2.4M
Location Victoria, London
Client Private
Date 2008 – 2010
Area 466m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design through to end of construction, material creation, lighting design, glazing design, landscape design, planning
Consultants DP9, Peter Deer & Associates, Clancy Consulting
Main Contractor LS Construction
Sub Contractor Plankco, Black Isle Bronze
Supplier Aston Matthews, DirectStone, Palmalisa  Zantetedeschi, Quantum, Catalano
Awards 2015 YAYA – Finalist, 2014 UK Property Awards – Won Best Architecture Single Residence London, UK, London Evening Standard – Highly Commended for Best Apartment, 2013 International Design & Architecture Awards – Shortlisted for Residential £2.5 – 35 Million Award, RIBA Awards – Shortlisted for London Regional Awards, SBID – Shortlisted for Residential Intelligent Design Category, 2011 Design Awards – Won Living Space Design of the Year, The Wood Awards – Shortlisted for Structural Award
Exhibitions 2012 Young Architect of the Year 2011 NLA Don’t Move, Improve
Press 2014  Jill Entwistle, ‘Back to School’, FX Magazine, February 2014, 2013 New London Architecture Annual Publication, New London 2013/2014, Home Design A Passion for Living by George Lam, Tiago Krusse, ‘Tex Tonic’, design Magazine, November / December 2013, 2012 Modern Lux Housing by Sandu Publishing, ‘Tex-Tonic House 1’, Designer and Designing, December 2012, James Cleland, ‘ Textural and tectonic’, Renovate, July 2012, ’10 Best Architects’, Grand Designs, June 2012, Claduia Saracco, ‘Loft Bilivello a Londra’, Vero Casa, May 2012, Annalisa Boni, ‘Londra con Vista, Casa Resart, April 2012, Paolo Ruggiero, ‘Tex-Tonic House, Casa Trend Magazine,  March 2012, Sarah Baldwin, ‘The Space Race’, Grand Designs Guide, March 2012, Alison Nicholls, ‘ First Class Stamp’, KBB, February 2012, Aldo Mazzolani, ‘Abitare in una scatola’, Ville & Casali, February 2012, Judith Wilson, ‘Architect profile. Paul McAneary’, House & Garden, January 2012, 2011, ’Tex-Tonic House. A double height penthouse apartment in Victoria, London’, Designing Ways, November 2011, Juliaus Vladickos, ’A Warmer Minimalist’, Centras Magazine, October 2011, ‘Wooden Wonder’, Grand Designs, September 2011, ‘Loft Boxes’, AT Casa, September 2011.‘Interactive floor plans: Interiors round-up’, Wallpaper, 24 August 2011, Gemma Figueras, ‘A spectacular London penthouse designed by Paul McAneary Architects, diary DESIGN, 23 August 2011, Jamie Derringer, ’Text-Tonic House by Paul McAneary Architects, design milk, 4 August 2011, Megan Jett, ‘Tex-Tonic house 1 / Paul McAneary Architects,. ArchDaily, 2 August 2011, ‘Tex-Tonic House 1’, ArchiTonic, July 2011

Brief The clients brief in this invited competition was to design two apartments on the top floor of the existing Central London post office and Phillips de Pury art auction house in Victoria, London. The client expressed a wish for large volume ‘loft’ spaces and his desire for contemporary design and functionality. Paul McAneary Architects response won the competition with a proposal for expressed natural tectonics through numerous new details and even developing a new material type – of cast timber bronze.

Concept Design Since the two apartments are built on top of the existing Central London post office, the postal delivery system has been the inspirational source of the concept design. Paul McAneary Architects  responded to the brief by expressing and magnifying the ‘post box component-concept-element’ into large boxes of natural materials accommodating  for the private programme. We placed three bedroom boxes within the large double height loft space, to provide rooms for sleeping accommodation: additional to the master bedroom  and two further bedrooms, they accommodate the master bedroom walk-in wardrobe, en-suite bathroom and a shared bathroom. In line with a more contemporary domesticity, the private programme area is relatively modest in size. The client expressed the desire to have a large versatile living space perfect for relaxation and parties, as a result the living area is spacious and serves multipurpose events. The overall architectural language is modest and dramatic at the same time: mixed timber tectonics  have been applied with an emphasis on their texture and intrinsic beauty. The amount of ‘vertical natural light’ flooding through the large skylights, walk on glass and the horizontal curtain walling maximise the exquisite effect of the natural grain and pattern of the timber ceiling, oak beams and floor as well as the bronze ‘timber texture’.

Private Accommodation Boxes The ‘boxes’ of the Tex-Tonic House display natural textured materials. The thick, ‘chunky ‘100mm x 200mm oak sections have been designed to express the depth of the sand blasted oak with an expressed ‘finger’ or ‘comb’ joining detail. The array of boxes is illuminated from below to bring out the natural texture of the material to the full. For the box in the centre we developed a new material, a cast bronze timber cladding. During the preparation process of the timber for the cast we brushed out the summer growth of the timber to articulate the maximum texture. Following this process the timber was burnt to remove the timber’s hair. Following the cast of the bronze an acid solution treatment was applied to achieve a blackened bronze finish. Finally the ridges were brushed to create ‘highlights’ expressing the wood texture of the bronze.

Suspended Timber Mezzanine Floor The aim was to make the mezzanine floor plate to appear floating: the structural challenge was to reduce floor thickness  to the minimum possible,  as a result it is only 95mm thick. This was technically achieved by suspending the floor from the steel roof structure. Slender 50mm bars support the very thin floor. The chilled wine store is supported by 10mm thin fins, which  apart from the structural purpose, function together with the 2268 metre tension wire as shelving for up to 3200 bottles.

Cantilevered Stairs The cantilevered solid oak stair treads lead to a structural glass floor which provides natural light and a transparent connection between the lower kitchen and dining areas as well as the office area and wine store at mezzanine level.

Fireplace The large open plan main living area is broken up by a freestanding sculptural concrete fire place, addressing both the living as well as the dining area. The in-situ cast concrete fireplace with exposed timber plank shuttering combines both the natural concrete and natural texture of timber. The result is a ‘raw’ material with a very natural texture – a simply beautiful product.

Front Door The entrance to the Tex-Tonic House  is made of 200 year old Rhodesian Teak. It measures 3,70 metre x 1,40 metre and weights approximately 450 kilos. The door is illuminated from above to emphasise the beautiful texture of this precious wood. The oversized appearance and the textured feeling of the door generate the visitor’s enthusiasm and expectation for the interior.

Dining Table The dining table is similar to the front door made of 200 year old Rhodesian Teak surrounded by 12 mahogany Chippendale dining chairs.

Lighting Our lighting philosophy was to  provide numerous options that could be tuned to different settings and saved to facilitate the multitude of uses of the space at any time of the day or night. Apart from the lighting for the kitchen and dining table, all light fittings are concealed all lighting is therefore indirect as a result minimalistic and atmospheric. The settings can be adjusted from very dim to a dramatic  use of light.

Roof Garden The client is passionate about gardening and vegetation.Therefore we designed a 21 metre long vertical living wall: a self-contained and irrigated planting system incorporating ‘acid yellow’, green and white planting scheme. The long horizontal curtain walling maximises the perception of spacial continuity between the interior and the exterior so that the external roof garden becomes a vital ingredient of the internal living space.

Technology We aimed to hide the technology as much as possible, to fully integrate all requirements so as the space could remain as calm, uncluttered  and contemplative as possible. The space has a fully integrated AV system including B&W surround sound speakers and an integrated monitor into the storage wall which facilitates the numerous and ever increasing types of media. The KNX system that was installed allows the occupier of the spaces to operate light, sound, heating, alarm, blinds, internet and TV from any space within the apartment, from their iPad.

The project’s main features are:

The timber boxes built out of 100mm thick, wire brushed and sand blasted oak with a caustic soda finish.
The cantilevered stairs also in 100m thick wire brushed and sand basted oak to match.
The sandblasted oak beams and columns, with dowelled mortise and tenon pinned joints.
The use of reclaimed timber; the 200 years old Rhodesian teak to produce the oversized front door and matching dining table.
The detailed ceiling lattice work, also in oak that supports an acoustic ceiling;
The 466sqm of 300mm wide engineered oak flooring that was sand blasted and olive and white oiled before having a hard wax oil finish.
The thin mezzanine floor, also finished in the manipulated engineered oak boards.
The cast timber shuttering upon the concrete monolithic fireplace;
The development of cast timber bronze to produce the bronze box cladding – a world’s first.
The kitchen fitted with Gaggenau appliances, an automated wine dispenser and herb garden with automated irrigation system.
The floating wine cellar at mezzanine level with wine bottles displayed horizontally, so that the labels are visible. The special lighting from below produces a beautiful glowing effect of the bottles.
The lava stone feature wall in the guest WC made of lava cut into 10mm x 10mm strips.
Sky-showers: the installation of skylights above all showers.
The living wall: the 21 metre long vertical roof garden.

Tortoise Enclosure

Tortoise Enclosure

Involving an unorthodox brief to house ten tortoises and a client eager to commission an exemplar of ecologically responsive design, this project synthesises form and materials to create a compact yet highly striking structure. Occupying a garden site in Northern Ireland, it takes the form of a 2.8m high curved stone wall that defines and conceals the tortoise house. Bands of roughly chipped sandstone varying in depth and length powerfully express the thickness and texture of the stone. Drip details are deliberately omitted, so the wall will evolve over time in a natural and beautiful way,

Beyond the wall, the tortoise house is constructed from highly insulated timber walls and a frameless, triple-glazed roof. The refined, frameless glass detail creates the illusion of an enclosure open to the sky, maximising light and warmth. Treated glass prevents overheating. Within the minimal interior, a streamlined kitchen provides a food preparation and bathing area for the tortoises. Underfloor heating is controlled by a thermostat to maintain an optimum temperature all year round.

The walls of the enclosure are clad in cedar slats treated and protected by charring, a technique based on traditional Japanese construction. The cedar is allowed to burn until it is blackened and charred, effectively sealing it without the need for chemical treatments which can damage the environment. Employed for the first time in the UK, the technique results in a long-lasting and visually alluring finish. Elegant bronze detailing protects the cedar and counterpoints the rich tones of the wood.

The combination of rough stone and smooth burnt timber gives the building a distinctive presence that merges with the garden landscape while providing a functional enclosure for its venerable reptilian residents. As tortoises are famous for their longevity, the project is also an apt manifestion of Paul McAneary Architects philosophy of wabi sabi, in which elements are subtly transmuted through age and use. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value Private
Location Nothern Ireland
Client Private
Date 2010 – 2011
Area 8m2
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design to the end of construction, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, landscape design, structural design, material creation, survey, planning, building control, 3D visualisation
Main Contractor L. S. Construction
Supplier The Plank Co, Top Glass, Thomas Rooney & Sons Ltd, Rathbanna Limited
Press 2013 BD New Architects 2013, 2010 ‘Masonary Overview’, AJ Specification, November 2010
Awards 2012 Surface Design Awards –  Highly Commended for Housing Exterior Surface Award

Garden Room House

Garden Room

Garden Room House shows how a Victorian family house can be imaginatively transformed by adding a single glass room to the existing dwelling. This simple move reconceptualises the garden as a transformable indoor/outdoor room and frees up the footprint of the house, enhancing the effect of natural light and maximising storage.

Previously, the client had struggled to gain planning permission for a small side extension and approached Paul McAneary Architects to propose an alternative. Paul McAneary Architects devised a design that effectively doubles the terraced house’s ground floor footprint and creates a garden room in its truest sense.

The rear of the house was formerly occupied by a dilapidated garage. This was demolished and the resulting awkward, underused space replaced by a single storey extension connected to the kitchen by a glass walkway.  A central courtyard is created, defined on three sides by the living space and a set of fully retractable glass doors, cunningly engineered so that the corners are free of supports. When the doors are open, garden and ground floor meld into a seamless and senuous inside/outside realm. The garden becomes not simply an extension of the kitchen, living and play room, but a continually colonised connection between these spaces.

The original decking, which became dangerously slippery when wet, was replaced with grass and integrated drainage, extending the life of the garden through different climates and seasons. Blurring the distinction between inside and out, garden and house are on the same continuous level, so that space flows fluidly between between the two.

A curved ceiling extends along the length of the house, finessing the junction with a 19m long storage wall, the largest Paul McAneary Architects have created to date. Concealed LED lighting animates the repetitive geometry of the storage wall, while a recessed bench and two shelving units provide functional focal points. White oiled oak flooring, deliberately skip sawn to achieve a rougher texture, adds warmth to the interior.

From concept to detail, the remodelling aims to open up and enhance the living space creating a practical and civilised armature for family life. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value £ 340k
Location Waltham Forest, London
Client Private
Date 2014 – 2015
Area 117m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design through to end of construction, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, furniture design, survey,building control, 3D visualisation
Main Contractor John McEvilly, MC Construction,
Supplier Plank Co, Easigrass Ltd, IQ Glass
Press 2016 The £100k house: Tricks of the Trade, BBC 2

Paul McAneary Architects’ Office

Paul McAneary Architects' Office

In 2010 Paul McAneary Architects moved their offices, the short distance from Soho to Covent Garden,  to a 17th century printers works. The old stone building is situated in Flitcroft St, near the soon to-be transport hub of London, Tottenham Court Road.  The project aimed to reinstate open spaces that had been partitioned during the building’s previous conversion into an office.

To make the basement level functional, it was imperative to increase the height of the room. Paul McAneary Architects used a special cast fibre concrete floor, that could be set to only 70mm thick.  A laboratory has been incorporated into the new layout, a space for the architects and designers to experiment with new materials and finishes, gaining first-hand expertise in their rapidly developing field. Architecture models can also be created safely and efficiently using the defined area.

The open plan space is designed for exhibitions and launches, with clean light walls and completely adaptable lighting. 4 light wells, from the street level bring natural light down to the basement, above alcoves that can be adapted for a plethora of uses. A structural glass floor will bring the maximum amount of light possible down, whilst connecting the two areas of office.

Ground Floor

The ground floor facade has been developed to bring the maximum amount of natural light possible. The largest structural glass panels achievable have been inserted within the existing openings in the facade. The heightened visibility, and renovated facade, will regenerate Flitcroft street, ensuring it maintains the vibrance of this central London location for years to come.

A sky light has been introduced into the back of the office, bringing light to the full extent of the plan. It is placed above a design room, directly above a glass box down into the basement level. Connecting all the levels of the project, and providing a shaft for large architectural models to be extracted gracefully through.


Paul has designed the desks that will make up the essential part of any office. They exude the minimal elegance of the Paul McAneary Architects office, a simple grey frame with a frosted glass top resting on top. The glass top acts as a light box, ensuring every architect can trace at their desk whilst working simultaneously on their mac. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value £100k
Location Westminister, London
Date 2011-2013
Area 238m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design through to end of construction, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, furniture design, material creation, survey, planning, building control, 3D visualisation
Supplier Plank Co
Press 2018 ‘Paul McAneary Architects: how a Japanese facade transformed a London alley;’ OnOffice 21 February

White Oak House

White Oak House

This radical remodelling of an apartment in a 1960s block in London’s Hampstead transforms a gloomy cellular interior into a set of fluid and light open-plan spaces. The client is Japanese, using the flat as a base for occasional trips to London, so perhaps such an approach of precise and elegant economy might have been anticipated. Yet the outcome has a formal and experiential resonance beyond the usual clichés of minimalism. The simple act of removing partition walls and adding new elements activates spatial relationships in new ways, and the material palette draws on natural textures to cultivate a studiedly neutral aesthetic.

In a series of controlled moves, the plan is deconstructed from its original compartmented arrangement and opened up to create a sense of tranquil spaciousness. The master bedroom now extends the full width of the plan, augmented by a large en-suite bathroom, a living area leading to a terrace and a small ‘secret room’ equipped with a vanity unit. The enlarged L-shaped living space combines kitchen and dining areas, the latter connected to a second terrace.

Freeing up the plan meant reconsidering arrangements for fire protection and this prompted the design of an ingenious pop-up fire lobby. If smoke is detected, an extra door is activated to swing into place over the main entrance to provide the necessary fire resistance.

Views and light are diffused through gauzily translucent blinds, which resemble contemporary versions of traditional Japanese shoji (rice paper) screens. These bathe the interior in a soft radiance, yet still suggest a sense of the surrounding parkland landscape. New bespoke elements frame and define space but are also multi-functional: for instance, an exquisite oak cabinet in the living room is both a bench and light fitting. White walls and oak are a recurring duality; other materials include honey-coloured travertine for the bathroom floors and bamboo decking for the roof terraces. Crisply cubic bedroom furniture was specially designed with table tops resembling veneer. However, like the travertine floors, they were chosen for their economy and adaptability, following extensive consideration of different samples.

The projects was run on a design and build contract, which meant that the practice controlled all detailing, construction and sequencing of trades. This gave it an invaluable insight into the practical and process aspects of interior remodelling, enabling it to deliver an outcome of the highest quality for the client. Such attention to detail, which included selecting all the furniture and fittings, creates a modern gesamtkunstwerk in the manner of Danish Modernist Arne Jacobsen, renowned for his all encompassing approach to design, where carefully considered individual parts coalesce to form a rich and compelling whole. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value £200k
Location Hampstead, London
Client Private
Date From – 2015
Area 474m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design through to end of construction, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, furniture design, survey,building control, 3D visualisation
Main Contractor Paul McAneary Architects
Sub Contractor Paul McAneary Architects

Multi-Denominational Wedding Pavilion

Wedding Pavilion

London is the most diverse metropolis in the world. And within its youthful social strata of different cultures and faiths, there is a growing demand for wedding venues. Initially commissioned by a hotel group to design a standard wedding venue, Paul McAneary Architects subsequently developed the concept of a neutral, flexible, non-denominational space that could be consecrated and used by different faiths.

Neither adorned with specific religious symbolism, nor descended from existing typologies, this new building type required a sensitive understanding of theological precedent. Lucid geometry and elegant materials conjure an atmosphere of solemnity and tranquility that transcends time, faith and place.

The sequence of spaces is carefully contrived to create an evocative setting for the rituals of matrimony. The wedding party enters through two separate, symmetrical doors into a circular amphitheatre, where the couple take centre stage. Connoting the concept of marriage as a public statement, the archetypal form of the amphitheatre also expresses the sanctity of the couple’s relationship. Guests are seated opposite one another, emphasising the wider union of families and communities. Following the ceremony, guests depart through a single door, physically and symbolically united as a group.

Materials, light and water choreograph a sense of intimacy and sanctity. An oculous projects a ray of light upon the central stage and a shallow reflecting pool surrounds the venue, discreetly separating it from the wider world. Light ripples off the water to create a sensuous play of reflections on the textured stone facade, while floating candles and flowers add further voluptuous touches. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value Diameter dependant
Location Non-site specific
Client Private
Date 2014 – 2016
Area Dependent on clients requirements
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design, interior design, structural design, furniture design, 3D visualisation

Battersea Tower

Battersea Tower

At Chatfield Road, a riverside site in Battersea, this project augments and remodels an existing four storey block of flats by adding an extra four storeys. The aim was to maximise views and minimise overshadowing of existing buildings. The block is set back from the river and surrounded by much taller residential structures, some as high as 16 storeys. In this context the extra height of the redeveloped building can be justified, consolidating its urban presence and providing 20 new residential units.

In effect, the existing building becomes a kind of rusticated brick base for the new addition. This is clearly expressed by contrasting use of materials, with the extra storeys finished in smooth render. Five per flats floor are efficiently arranged around a circulation core. Individual apartments are dual aspect to maximise light and views, enhanced by generous terraces on the two riverfront elevations. The impact of the increased massing is tempered by a stepped section where the new addition meets an existing three storey block. The stepped form creates a series of enlarged terraces and reduces overshadowing. Interiors are simple, spacious and clean-lined, employing techniques of space planning developed in a previous Paul McAneary Architects residential remodelling project, the White Oak House. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value TBC
Location Wandsworth, London
Client Landmark Estates
Date Current
Area 1,924.96m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design, glazing design, 3D visualisation

German Student Micro Living

German Student Micro Living

Paul McAneary Architects were appointed to provide accommodation for 5000 students across Germany on city centre sites from Kiel in the north to Munich in the south. The aim of the project is to remodel and adapt existing redundant buildings of the post-war era in an efficient and economical manner.

Each building is stripped back to its structural frame and effectively redesigned. Borrowing techniques from yacht design, in which function is paramount and space standards squeezed to an absolute minimum, bedroom are compactly but ingeniously planned. Though necessarily small, at 10 sqm per unit, bedrooms are augmented by more generous areas of communal space to encourage social interaction.

Within each unit, the considered application of design techniques such as shadow gaps, lighting and mirrors mitigates the compressed scale to create a highly civilised environment for studying and sleeping. Through the use of 150 mm shadow gaps, furniture appears to ‘float’ off the floor, and the furniture itself draws inspiration from classic Bauhaus models with elegant metal frames, so rooms are not dominated by bulky furniture.

Materials are carefully selected to require minimal maintenance and actually improve with use and age. Taking advantage of prefabrication, bathrooms are modular pods, with a simple plumbing connection that slots quickly and neatly into each unit. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value £350M
Location Kiel, Bremen, Berlin, Stuttgart, Munich, Germany
Client DREF
Date 2014-2017
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, furniture design, 3D visualisation, Creation of Design Brand Manual for Design Implementation