Woven Nest

Atmos, London, 2009

 

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Christoph Bolten (website)     Download Original

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  • First floor plan    
  • Second floor plan    
  • Roof    
  • Section A-A    
  • Section B-B    
  • Scetion C-C    
  • Section D-D    
  • Section E-E    
  • Section F-F    
  • Section G-G    
  • Section H-H    
  • Section I-I    
  • East elevation    
  • South elevation    
  • Viewlines generating roofscape    
  • Render of roofmass from front    
  • Render of roofmass from front    
  • Render of roofmass from rear    
  • Render - sequence buildup front    
  • Render of furniture buildup     
  • Render sequence buildup - rear    
  • Renders of stair spaces    
  • Render of stairs iso-separated    
  • Render of stair column    
  • Render of stair column    
  • Render of stair column    
  • Plan - stair shelf geometries stair shelf geometries    
  • Plan - stair shelf geometries stair shelf geometries    
  • Plan - stair shelf geometries stair shelf geometries    

Refurbishment of minute, dishevelled, listed building into dense matrix of continuous furniture elements, spaces and external terrace for family home, squeezing two floors into one

The woven nest interlocks a series of environments and furniture elements to create a carefully choreographed sequence of spaces for a family home nestled within a severely constrained site on Stoke Newington Church Street.

The massing was generated from the view-lines along the High Street below, tucked carefully out of sight to achieve planning permission for a full new invisible storey with front outdoor space hidden by the front facade’s brick parapet.

The slate-tiled roof-form deploys a double-pitched butterfly roof, angling upwards from low flank walls to grace the arriving visitor with taller walls at the central stairwell. A crystalline valley skylight hangs above, flooding the void with light. Staggered floor sections carefully borrow space from below and push low-hanging storage to the compressed perimeter. The V-shape in section repeats in plan to sneak a tidy outdoor terrace between new and old façades, the timber doors from hall and bedroom folding neatly together at its crease.

The rear window angles carefully back above its sloping brick parapet, offering great starry views to the bed beneath it. Its fixed glazing folds at the stairwell to form an opening frame, a complex rhomboid perfectly slotted into the available space, folding open against the eaves of the neighbouring roofline. The courtyard opposite protects privacy yet offers generous views of sky and city (from bath or bench, table or toilet), and tantalising views into the intricacy of this urban jewel.

The project’s palette mirrors the client’s interest in Japanese economy, restraint and invention, and provides a sense of surprising spaciousness within tight confines. Spaces from adjacent rooms are borrowed and traded, with each room offering a panoply of different views and directions. Mirrors double and quadruple the extent of views and entice optical exploration, while maximised continuity between the surfaces of the built-in furniture provides a visual sense of further elongation and expansion, carrying the explorative eye ever onwards between the rooms.

The house assembles around the central open stair, its timber strands growing upwards towards the light and unleashing delicate tendrils to frame each step, a single thin metallic line dancing across their lines to offer the lightest of additional support. To the right, spaces sneak into the stair – as bathroom storage below or the underside of a musician’s desk above – while to the right the open treads fan and splay into a generous array of surfaces for the living room. Their lower steps support a seat and soft-spot, while their upper elements flow around the sitter to form a layered sea of books and shelves
Upstairs, the stair-tree verticals curl into architraves and continue into rooms either side of the atrium eyelid. Their lines flow west to form a desk and shelving unit in the study, wrapping around to frame the unfolding sheaves of floorplank that conceal a bed within the floor-depth. The low cupboard nestled at the window flows out to form a long courtyard storage bench along the front facade, which slips back inside as a bathroom bench, carved with a sunken bath. This same surface plunges through the bather’s view-slot into the bedroom (a faceted plane - the laundry-lid - folding up to form the final blackout for this bedroom/bathroom opening), continuing as storage into the plinth of the raised bed beyond, and onwards as bedside counter before folding back into the wall and the rhythms of the stair beyond
The house is thus unified by a single curl of complex in-built furniture, bridging inside and out, closed and open, his and hers and anyone else’s in its careful compaction of storage and use and its careful alignment of the body within spaces and the eye towards sky.

The project was initiated some time after Alex Haw had given over 30 advisory sessions for RIBA/Shelter’s Architect in the House. The conversation with Jamie was electric and a few weeks later Alex was illicitly climbing on the library rooftop opposite to scope out the possibilities.

It was completed in April 2009

Data

  • Begun: Oct 2008
  • Completed: May 2009
  • Floor area: 64m2
  • Sector: House
  • Total cost: £109,300
  • Tender date: Jul 2008
  • Procurement: JCT Minor Works
  • CO2 Emissions: 23kg/m2/year
  • Address: 177a Stoke Newington Church Street, London, N16 0UL, United Kingdom

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