The Modern House

TDO, London, 2018


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The Modern House     Download Original

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A flexible and innovative workspace in London.

The Modern House is a rapidly growing ambitious, design-led company and an estate agency that has an reputation for an expansive programme. Having outgrown their previous premises in north London, the directors approached us to design a low-budget, flexible and innovative workspace.

St Alphege Hall was purpose-built as a church hall in 1931 and has since been used as offices and community halls. It was taken on by The Modern House requiring extensive refurbishment. The hall had a unique character, which was quite apparent despite its run-down state.

We developed a brief with The Modern House, which established that the main, grand hall was to be their primary office space, with a secondary function as a flexible events space. Our proposal for achieving this was to think about it primarily as an open-plan, clear space occupied by demountable, multi-functional desks. The desks are designed as modular elements which slot together in any number of arrangements to suit any number of uses. They can facilitate lectures, conferences, meetings, film screenings, launch events etc along with the primary office use.

Floor boxes supply power to the desks, which daisy-chain off one another in any configuration desired. All the desks, or any not in use, are designed to be dismantled into three parts and stowed along the perimeter railings. In their stowed arrangement the desks form shelving around the room, creating a resting shelf for a drinks reception.

The desks and railings are made from dark grey valchromat. This approach follows the wider strategy to the interiors. Retained fabric is given an off-white finish. New interventions and alterations are treated in an off-black. The approach makes clear the original fabric and character of the building, while also making legible The Modern House’s occupation of the space. The monochromatic treatment reflects the company’s branding. The over-sized highly polished black front door and black tiled steps make this statement quite powerfully at the moment of arrival.


  • Begun: Nov 2017
  • Completed: Mar 2018
  • Floor area: 231m2
  • Sector: Office
  • Total cost: £125,000
  • Tender date: Oct 2017
  • Procurement: Traditional
  • Address: St Alphege Hall, King’s Bench Street, London, SE1 0QX, United Kingdom

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