In the Victorian era, the status of the artist profession was improving, and therefore, many artistic hubs emerged across London. This was one of the artist studios within the city where several artists set up residence, including notable names such as Augustus John, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Francis Bacon.
Fast forward to 2021, and the artists have long since gone; however, the artistic character of the building remains. The objective of this project was to create a contemporary family home that encompassed the raw character of the studio spaces. The existing building featured many traditional architectural design elements, including traditional steel-framed glazing systems.
Glazing company IQ Glass has helped bring this stunning building back to life. Here, i-Build’s Editor, Rebecca Kemp, talks to Carly Coren, Marketing Executive at IQ Glass, about the project.
RK: How did IQ Glass feel about taking on this project?
CC: IQ love taking on complex projects with a unique background and designing glazing systems that modernise a historic building whilst preserving the original charm. This project had such character and personality and we were eager to put our own spin on it with modern glazing elements. We knew the floor space would need to be extended with a basement level, which gave us the opportunity to use systems that introduced natural light down into the basement.
RK: Why did the homeowners choose this property to renovate?
CC: The homeowners wanted to preserve as much of the building’s history as possible whilst making it a functional space that suited their needs. They were avid art collectors, so the building’s history stood out to them as a place to display their collection.
RK: What style and age is the original building?
CC: The original structure dates back to the 1900s with an industrial style. As it was a studio space, there was minimal furniture and plenty of space. Multiple artists used the area at once, splitting the interior into smaller studio spaces that could be rented as the status of the artist profession became more respected.
RK: How did you combine the original building’s style with the extension?
CC: A basement floor was added to the single-storey building, which doubled the floor space. The double-height ground floor was preserved, enhancing the tall ceilings with roof glazing, which flooded the interior with natural light. Thanks to the homeowners’ art collection, it was easy to grant a nod to the original function of the build, with art displays and quirky furniture found in every room of the house. The glazing systems introduced modern elements into the home without detracting from the design features.
RK: What was the vision and inspiration behind the new home?
CC: The homeowners needed a home suitable for their family of four and a place where they could also display their collection of colourful art. Much of the inspiration stemmed from the building’s original use, with plenty of natural light being a necessity. The modern industrial scheme took inspiration from the original design, retaining some of the rustic features to combine modern and traditional elements. As the space was once commercial, it was easy to transform the large empty space into sizeable open-plan living spaces.
We worked closely with the architects on the project to make sure the glazing systems suited the brief without compromising performance values. Steel glazing systems were specified to maintain the traditional aesthetic. All steel glazing systems were fully thermally broken to ensure the home was at a comfortable living temperature all year round.
RK: Were there any challenging aspects to the project and build?
CC: The only challenge was creating a below-ground floor that benefitted from as much natural light as the rest of the home. IQ Glass always look to use frameless glazing systems where possible, and that is what we used for the walk-on floor lights. Natural light can flow freely into the spaces without any visible frame or sightlines, and light transmission is never obstructed.
RK How did you approach material and product specification?
CC: Steel was chosen, over aluminium, to represent the raw character of the property. Historically, steel glazing systems were a huge source of heat loss in a home. However, now with modern glazing technologies, we can engineer steel systems that are traditional looking without compromising on current performance values.
RK: Are there any particular materials that you would recommend to others looking to renovate or self-build?
CC: Structural glass is perfect for a wide range of projects, as the clear nature won’t detract from other architectural elements. Aluminium systems are typically lighter and require less maintenance, but both aluminium and steel-framed systems have their advantages. Depending on the style of the property, budget and personal preferences, we recommend aluminium or steel for luxury glazing systems.
RK: Please provide an overview of the finished space.
CC: From the outside, the black steel frames create a contrast against the pale building exterior. When approaching the home, walk-on glass makes a striking impact and instantly modernises the property. Inside, the double-height space is flooded with natural light thanks to the roof glazing elements that have been specified in conjunction with the steel-framed external doors and windows. Frameless glass balustrades have been used to create zones within the home without detracting from the quirky and unique interior design. The interior scheme is truly incredible, with large pieces of art in every space. Walk-on floor lights can be seen throughout the ground level, allowing the natural light to stretch into the basement floor.
RK: How does the building respond to its surrounding landscape?
CC: As the original stone exterior was preserved, the building effortlessly merges with the surrounding London streets, only revealing its bespoke design upon closer inspection.
RK: Is the finished space everything that you hoped it would be?
CC: The finished space is more than we ever imagined when embarking on this project. The use of traditional steel highlights the original character beautifully, whilst the black frames of the steel systems create a contrast that fits the quirky interior beautifully.
RK: What’s your favourite room?
CC: Our favourite room is the kitchen, which uses dark design features and furniture choices to highlight the black steel frames. The glazing bars incorporated into the steel door systems add character and depth to the space, working in harmony with the interior design to achieve something truly individual.
RK: What advice would you offer to anyone looking to renovate or self-build?
CC: Make sure you are using an expert in the glazing industry to ensure the home is comfortable and functional as well as beautiful.