This project creates a private retreat in the heart of one of London’s most vibrant east end neighbourhoods.
The interior was purged of many layers of poor quality modern materials and returned to the old recipe of breathable walls and radiant heat. Lime plaster and sheep's wool insulation absorb moisture and filter the air while a new heated slab and wood stove push the encroaching damp towards the exterior. The interior rejected the market lead wisdom of “the more bedroom the better” and remains mostly open plan. A sleeping loft was added to the top-level thereby converting a pokey two storey two bedroom maisonette into a spacious two and a half storey studio house.
Building science or technical performance is often considered as an adjunct to questions of atmosphere, weight, texture etc. Here the notion of material is extended to consider materials as living substances, breathing, shifting, degrading. This consideration of material invites experiential as well as technical discussions, while also introducing ideas of maintenance as ritual contributing to care and wellbeing, rather than product failure to be avoided.