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Haptic House


Haptic House

Haptic House is a renovation of a Grade II-listed Victorian dwelling in Hampstead to meet the changing needs of a young family. With its concern for simple, natural materials intended to age gracefully over time, the project is underscored by the concept of wabi-sabi, a Japanese aesthetic code which stresses the beauty of imperfection and transience.

The original house was an unmodernised, four storey semi-detached villa in a Conservation Area. The project focused on extending the rear of the building and remodelling its various floors, with only minimal changes to the historic frontage. Inverting the conventional relationship of living and sleeping spaces, the ground floor is converted into a master bedroom and the lower ground level transformed into a fluid, open-plan living, dining and kitchen space in direct contact with the garden. The topmost storey is remodelled to create a pair of identical home offices, with back-to-back children’s bedrooms on the first floor.

Reinforcing the connection between daily life and the presence of nature, the lower ground floor is excavated by half a metre so the garden is at eye level. A crisply detailed frameless glass extension augments the living space, enhancing light penetration and garden views. Glass is employed structurally, as columns and beams, while motorised aerofoil louvres made of cedar protect the delicately diaphanous butterfly roof from glare. A central gutter channels rainwater off the glass extension on to a ‘staining wall’. Sluiced by rust-impregnated rainwater interacting with tadelakt, a traditional, lime-based Moroccan plaster, the appearance of the wall will evolve over time.

The transition from inside to outside is defined and expressed through different manifestations of stone. Individual York stones are inset into a specially mixed terrazzo which forms the floor of the living space. This ‘stepping stone’ path flows out into the garden, extending up a cantilevered staircase crafted from solid stone, designed to emphasise its monolithic quality. Looping around the garden, the meandering trajectory is marked by reclaimed sleepers made from Azobe hardwood. Its focal point is the Suspended Shade, a dramatically cantilevered timber structure which functions as a discrete pavilion for contemplation and entertaining.

Ground and lower ground floors are linked by an immaculately detailed timber staircase featuring a wafer thin balustrade of laminated glass capped by a slim bronze handrail. This forensic yet poetic attention to detail extends to every aspect of the remodelling. For instance, the book-matched oak veneered doors enclosing the long storage wall in the main living space were exceptionally complex to produce, making intense demands on the craft skills of specialist joiners. Equally, the Spathroom on the first floor is a tour-de-force of highly considered detailing and fabrication. Inspired by Japanese bathing rituals, the outcome is a sumptuously sensual bathroom lined with teak and slate to create an intimate, womb-like enclave for washing and relaxing.

As the clients work from home, the upper storey is brought into play to provide two identical offices. In a twist worthy of an espionage novel, small secret rooms are inserted behind twin libraries, controlled by electromagnetic locks that can be concealed in the spine of a book.

Rigorous emphasis was placed on the selection of materials and how they are put together and experienced. Natural materials, such as York stone, oak, teak and slate were chosen as they have an inherently warm, haptic quality that responds to touch. A bespoke blackened, unpolished patina resembling dark bronze was applied to all ironmongery and metal fittings. Silky smooth clay plaster and rough exposed brickwork add further textural and visual richness. Embodying a crucial tenet of wabi-sabi, materials are intended to be subtly transmuted by the passage of time, weathering beautifully through use and the slow patina of age. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value ÂŁ1.6m
Location Hampstead, London
Client Private
Date 2011-2015
Area 474m²
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 Gareth Atkinson, William Dick TBC
Main Contractor Symm
Sub Contractor Simon Heslop, Paul Davies, William Garvey
Supplier Lazenby, tadelakt, Delta Light
Press 2018 ‘Paul McAneary Architects’ dlist Verified
Awards 2017 Designer K&B Awards – Won Bathroom Design of the Year (over ÂŁ15k) with Spathroom 2016 The UK Property Awards – Highly Commended for Best Architecture Single Residence London 2015 The Wood Awards – Finalist for Interior Design of the Year with Spathroom

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 ÂŁ2.4M
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 ÂŁ2.5 – 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.

Tex-Tonic House 2


Tex-Tonic House 2

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 ÂŁ1.7M
Location Victoria, London
Date 2009 – 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
Main Contractor L. S. Construction
Supplier The Plank Co., Black Isle Bronze Ltd, DirectStone Ltd, Palmalisa Zantetedeschi
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 2011 ‘Tex-Tonic House. A double height penthouse apartment in Victoria, London’, Designing Ways, November 2011
Awards 2015 YAYA – Finalist 2014 London Evening Standard New Homes Awards – Highly Commended for Best Apartment, UK Property Awards – Winner of Best Architecture Single Residence London, UK 2013 International Design & Architecture Awards – Shortlisted for Residential ÂŁ2.5 – 35 million award, RIBA Awards – Shortlisted for London Regional Awards,SBID – Shortlisted for Residential Intelligent Design Category 2011 Design Awards – Living Space Design of the Year, The Wood Awards – Shortlisted for Best Structural Category
Exhibitions 2012 NLA Don’t Move, Improve! 2011 Young Architect of the Year

Faceted House 1


Faceted House 1

This bold remodelling of an Edwardian terraced house within a conservation area in London’s Hammersmith, reconceptualises the conventional notion of the domestic extension. The client requested a contemporary design that blurred the distinction between inside and out, with the garden becoming a continuation of the dwelling space.

Paul McAneary Architects response was to devise an elongated, pavilion-like volume with a 30 degree angle on plan where it meets the garden. Channelling natural light into the interior, this single-storey volume is terminated by a full height glass wall with sliding glass doors held within a crisply faceted zinc facade.

The paved floor of the new extension projects beyond the external wall line to create an outdoor deck, its sharply chamfered profile finessing the transition into the garden. The previously compartmented ground floor of the house is now opened up into a single fluid space, cultivating a sense of physical and perceptual overlapping between indoor and outdoor realms.

Bathed in natural light, the new kitchen-living area expands and transforms the external landscape, while lush planting surrounds and perceptively invades the domestic space through the glass wall and a frameless glass skylight.

Exploring a formal language of solid and void, together with a palette of natural materials designed to improve with age, this project has a rigour and refinement that beautifully demonstrates the transformative potential of architectural imagination. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value  £140k
Location Hammersmith & Fulham, London
Client Private
Date 2008 – 2009
Area 185m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service Architectural, interior, lighting, kitchen, electrical & mechanical design services, planning consultants/applications, final concept to project completion
Main Contractor Sheppard Construction
Sub Contractor First Glaze Direct
Supplier Rheinzink, Vola, Royal Mosa Tiles
Press 2014 ‘A Contemporary Extension by Paul McAneary Architects’, Contemporist, 26 August 2014, Lindsay Blair, ‘Small Extensions’, Real Homes, August 2014 2013‘Extend your Home’, Grand Designs, July 2013, Jo Messenger, ‘Kitchen Extension’, Real Homes, January 2013, BD New Architects 2013, 2012 Carolina Calzada, ‘SBID International Design Awards – Residential Sector’, SBID, November 2012, Ideal Home, ’Extreme Transformation’, January 2012, The Sourcebook of Contemporary Houses, 2011 Marcelo Seferin, ‘Architect Day: Paul McAneary Architects’, Abuzeedo, 13 September 2011, ’Faceted House 1 by Paul McAneary Architects’, AArchitecture, September 2011, Erika Kim, ‘paul mcaneary architects: tex tonic house 1’, designboom, 27 July 2011, ‘Faceted House 1’, ArchiTonic, July 2011, Claudia Rada, ’Faceted House 1’, Architext, March-April 2011, Alex Nikjoo, ‘Faceted House 1, Hammersmith, London by Paul McAneary Architects’, Architects Journal, 3 February 2017, ’Extensions Special’, Grand Designs, February 2011 ‘Faceted House 1 von Paul McAneary Architects Ltd’, Studio 5555, 25 January 2011, RIBA London Directory 2011, RIBA Interiors Directory 2011, 2010 ’Like New Paul McAneary Architects’, Projectar Casa, December 2010, Laura Galimberti, ‘The garden between the walls’, Design Diffusion News, December 2010, ’Briaunuotas namas’, Centras, December 2010, ’Faceted House 1’, WhoWithWhat.com, October 2010, ’Contemporary Design Faceted House 1 in Hammersmith, London by Paul McAneary Architects’, 20th September 2010, ’Faceted House 1 by Paul McAneary Architects’, architeria.com., 20 September 2010, ’Faceted House 1 by Paul McAneary Architects’, Art you know, September 2010, David McManus, ‘Faceted House, London’, e-architect, 2 June 2010
Awards 2012 SBID – Won Best Residential Space Planning Award 2010 Design Awards – Won Living Space Design of the Year
Exhibitions 2010 New London Architecture ‘Don’t Move, Improve!’

Faceted House 3

Faceted House 3

This ambitious proposal for a new house in Tooting, in south west London, supplants an existing 1960s dwelling, which in turn replaced an original Victorian house destroyed when the street was bombed during the War. Set in a conversation area, the challenge was to create a spacious modern dwelling on a narrow urban plot. The familiar template of the Victorian two storey house is abstracted and reconceptualised to create a compelling contemporary piece of residential architecture. Angular forms address the rear garden, giving the dwelling its name, Faceted House.

As well as the obvious formal analogies, the house also exhibits many facets in terms of function and layout. Taking advantage of the opportunity to redevelop the site, the house has a large basement containing a home cinema with a projection room, as well as a guest bedroom. A sculptural staircase, which also functions as a wine store, connects the various floors, the sensual gleam of bottles animating its vertical trajectory through the house.

The ground floor is devoted to the main living and dining space. Conceived as a fluid, open plan volume, this extends out to connect with the garden. Crisply detailed planes of clear glass blur the boundaries between inside and out. On the street side, a hardstanding for parking has a retractable fence for convenience and security.

Sleeping quarters are accommodated on the two upper floors, with an ensuite master bedroom at first floor level and children’s bedrooms on the topmost floor. The garden is landscaped in a coolly, minimalist manner and an amply proportioned, sun funnelling glazed roof detail, deliberately invites light into the open space, reinforcing the notion of the house as a modern idyll for the routines and pleasures of domestic life. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value Undisclosed
Location Tooting, London
Client Private
Date Current
Area 503.82m2
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design through to end of construction, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, landscape design,survey,building control, 3D visualisation

Garden Room House


Garden Room
House

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 ÂŁ 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, www.mcconstructionuk.com
Supplier Plank Co, Easigrass Ltd, IQ Glass
Press 2016 The ÂŁ100k house: Tricks of the Trade, BBC 2

Oblong House


Oblong House

Spanning over seven floors with seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a spa, wine cellar, cinema room, library, glass lift, glass bar and numerous intricate bespoke details, Oblong House is a tour de force of residential refurbishment. With a contract value of £12 million, the brief was to restore and rationalise an existing property in South Kensington, which had been separated into seven individual flats, and return it to its original state as a single dwelling. The client specified an ultra minimalist design, with deep, rich colours and textures for a compelling, contemporary twist. Taking advantage of the building’s spectacular height and layering, Paul McAneary Architects devised a concept that separates the various functions into a legible hierarchy linked by new vertical circulation. The topmost floor houses a library and office, then as you descend, you are taken on a journey through the different domains of private to public, work to relaxation, culminating in a luxurious cinema and spa in the basement.

Conceptually, the different layers are united by a series of specially designed oblong features, from a minimal glass lift shaft to an oblong, back-lit, polished glass installation floating within the entrance area. Physically, floors are united by a 16m high section of a tree, which extends the full height of the house, set vertically in a new glass lift shaft and visible from the glass lift car. Light illuminates the striations and textures of this arboreal relic, so that it appears to be organically rooted within the building. The tree itself took time to find, as it was important, from a perspective of ecological responsibility, to source a specimen that was already fallen. Continuing the theme of nature, a planted green wall reflects the horizontal rhythm of the architecture with even bands of vegetation animating an otherwise unusable area of wall.

The ambitions of a radical contemporary design had to be balanced with the preservation of period features. Paul McAneary Architects response was to create a series of striking modern elements that contrast but are not at odds with the historical fabric, inculcating an elegant synergy. The rear facade is distinguished by the largest double glazed unit in Europe. At 4m high, it had to be specially craned into place. Coupled with internal glass floors, it forms a dramatic vertical light well, bringing daylight into the depth of the plan and can be completely opened to form a dramatic entertaining space. A frameless structural glass floor emphasises the visual connection down into the basement, encompassing the entire rear facade. The floor uses glass spacer bars so eliminating the need for steel supports, an new technique specially developed by Paul McAneary Architects to ensure the most minimal design possible. Low iron glass, characterised by its extreme clarity, is used throughout the project.

Acting as a historic backbone to the building, the original stone staircase winds up seven storeys. Juxtaposed against this is a self-illuminating glass art piece that floats above the steps, spiralling up the stairwell with an effortless grace. Designed and fabricated in collaboration with glass artist Jeff Bell, thousands of pieces of roughly textured handmade glass are attached to a steel core. Walls are finished in smooth, polished plaster, an extremely refined and layered plaster made from crushed marble, designed to counterpoint the rough glass and mirror the glowing form of the installation.

A basement cinema room sits below the structural glass terrace. The basement was excavated and the house underpinned to achieve a more elevated ceiling height. A TV is built into the wall for everyday use and a retractable projector screen can also be deployed. A huge horizontal black out blind transforms the space into a cinema. Another project-specific innovation, it measures 8m x 4m and runs under the glass beams across the entire ceiling. Once the blind is drawn, the room is plunged into darkness; perfect for film viewing.

The juxtaposition between traditional and contemporary is also apparent in the breakfast room. Restored architraves and skirting boards frame the room with their opulent patterns, while the floor to ceiling stone fireplace forms a powerful contemporary focal point. The stone chimney breast stops before reaches the cornice, giving the illusion of the smoke mysteriously disappearing. Built-in lighting creates the visual illusion of it lifting off the wall.

A barrel-vaulted wine cellar is set in the basement. The curve of the ceiling meets the walls with geometrical precision as a perfect tangent. Wine fridges line the walls encased in precisely detailed joinery. A cantilevered staircase descends into this viticultural trove, its treads made from blocks of dark coloured wenge to match the solid wenge floor. Piercing the curved ceiling is a seamless shard of glass which appears to hang from the roof, levitating off the ground. On the floor above it acts as a banister.

Bathing is elevated to a fine art. In the master bathroom, a monolithic shower is set in a shaft lifting straight up to a skylight. As you shower under a rain sky shower head, you are bathed in natural light. All visible drains are removed to achieve a completely pure form, emblematic of the project’s theme of dark, contemporary minimalism. Principles of hotel design were incorporated in order to increase the pressure of the entire water system by 15 times the normal rate. For the baths, a specially designed hyper functional steel faucet was created after considerable research. Capable of filling a large volume Boffi bath in well under two minutes, it is a unique and incredible feat of engineering.

Inspired by the Japanese concept of tsukubai, a traditional washbasin provided at the entrance to sacred places, PMA developed a bespoke stone basin. Made from semi-porous travertine, the silver-grey basin is rough carved with polished inner faces. Smooth timber joinery accentuates the natural texture of the stone. Steam room walls are clad in slate, a material traditionally used for waterproofing. This creates an intensely dark, organic space with clean lines and natural materials. Steam condenses and runs down the walls, adding to the exotic atmosphere.

By contrast, the bar area was designed to be as transparent as possible. Made entirely of UV bonded glass, there are no steel connections creating a spectacular set piece for entertaining. Behind the shelves, a glowing wall emphasises the sense of ethereal transparency, creating warm, colorful patterns as the light shines through liquor and bottles.

Oblong House was an an extremely challenging yet highly rewarding project for Paul McAneary Architects. The complex refurbishment saw the team work on every detail at every scale, from the huge glass rear facade to the design of each individual door handle. Devising customised elements and pushing boundaries were the key to realising this powerful, contemporary twist on modern minimalism. Yet it is also a sensitive renovation that respects the historic elements of this handsome London townhouse, giving it new life through new interventions designed to stand the test of time.

Contract Value ÂŁ12M
Location London
Date 2008 – 2011
Area 950m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, furniture design, survey,building control, 3D visualisation
Press 2013 BD New Architects

Hovering House



Hovering House

In refurbishing and extending a Victorian terraced house in Notting Hill, this project explores a language of Minimalism that nonetheless respects and incorporates the existing Victorian architecture. In doing so it transforms a dark, dated and compartmentalised dwelling into a light and airy contemporary space.

The bold design strategically removes existing walls to create the largest possible lateral space. The corner of the house now appears to hover above the kitchen, its crisp white ceiling framed by the exposed edge of original London stock bricks. Chunky zinc beams support a glass roofed side extension that slides seamlessly into the weathered brick facade. Because of the differential movements of two contrasting materials and the challenge of watertightness, this immaculately choreographed meeting of delicate glass and robust masonry was an especially challenging detail. However, it has now become a signature Paul McAneary Architects feature, implemented across many other projects.

Large aluminium-framed glass doors open up to the garden, extending the kitchen space into an external raised seating area. Paving creates spatial and visual continuity between inside and out. The kitchen ceiling plan folds around a full width glass skylight, creating subtle plays of light and graduated shadows that animate the interior. White oiled oak and reconstituted stone constitute a finely judged neutral palette. A bespoke storage wall provides an eminently practical solution to the demands of modern domestic life. Doors fold out to reveal a back painted glass section, equipped with plugs for appliances and cutlery.

Throughout, clutter is subsumed and rationalised in an elegantly minimalist yet functional interior. The original staircase was retained, creating a looping floor plan. Clad in oak, with shadow gaps defining the treads and non-scruff white rubber on the risers, the stair is effectively repurposed through the clever use of materials. Maintaining separate living spaces for the different needs of the client, this organisational arrangement is both fluid and efficient, ingeniously optimising and transforming space in a way that epitomises Paul McAneary Architects architectural philosophy. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value ÂŁ180k
Location Notting Hill, London
Client Private
Date From – 2010
Area 202m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design through to end of construction, lighting design, glazing design, furniture design, survey,building control, 3D visualisation
Supplier Aston-Matthews, Direct Stone, Zinc, Vola
Press 2011 Marcelo Seferin, ‘Architect Day: Paul McAneary Architects’, Abuzeedo, 13 September 2011
Awards 2014 UK Property Awards, Highly Commended for Best Architecture Single Residence London, UK

15Âş Off-White House


15Âş Off-White House

Exploring how a conventional dwelling can be dramatically opened up and adapted for the lifestyle of a young family, this remodelled house in Holland Park expresses and consolidates Paul McAneary Architects formal, material and organisational preoccupations.

The traditional cellular floor plans of London’s historic housing stock do not reflect the changing tenor of modern family life, from rigid social and physical compartmentalisation to a more informal and outgoing dynamic.

Here, internal partition walls are removed to create a seamless, fluid sweep of space from the entrance to the garden. A specially designed faceted ceiling channels natural light into the long, deep plan. Reflected off cool white surfaces, light washes through the house, transforming and animating space.

The staircase connecting the new open plan ground floor with the two upper storeys is a dramatic tour de force of structure and materials. Enclosed by wafer thin glass balustrades and seemingly dropped, like the staircase leading to an aircraft from a cut in the ceiling, it has an exquisite, crafted precision. Focusing intently on a set piece element is typical of Paul McAneary Architects approach and here it assumes a special resonance, like a piece of sculpture poised within the calm, white space.

In the absence of partition walls, the stair acts to demarcate functions, for instance defining the living and kitchen areas from the dining space. Ample storage in bespoke units is both practical and elegant, keeping rooms free of clutter and enhancing the feeling of light, luxurious spaciousness. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value ÂŁ150k
Location Holland Park, London
Client Private
Date 2007 – 2008
Area 145m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design to the end of construction, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, survey, planning, 3D visualisation
Main Contractor Typhoon
Supplier Farrow & Ball, Mint, Ikea, The Plank Co, Concept-Tiles
Press 2011 Objekt Magazine, December 2011, Maria Jose F. Prados, ‘Rehabilitacion en blanco de Paul McAneary Architects, Interiores Minimalistas, 3 February 2011, Katy Dunn, ’Smart Storage Solutions’, Grand Designs Magazine, January 2011 2010 ‘Keeping it Simple’, Designer Magazine, December 2010, Jamie Derringer, ‘15° Off-White House in the UK by Paul McAneary Architects’, Design Milk, 12 December 2010, Alessia Pincini, ‘Paul McAneary Architects’, abitare.it, 26 October 2010, ’15Âş Off White House;, WAN Interiors, 17 September 2010 2009 Claudia Baille, ‘Small Space Style’, Living Etc, February 2009, Andy Buck, ‘Step by Step’, Grand Designs, February 2009