Tenter House

Studio Manifest, London, 2019


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A formerly dilapidated building has been transformed into a family home centred around open-plan spaces and featuring exposed timber elements

Inspired by the history of the site, a former ‘Tenter Ground’, the newly formed family home features a series of exposed timber elements - linking old and new by weaving a thread of history through the house. The brief, to convert the dilapidated property which had sat empty for at least two years, centred around creating clean open-plan spaces, whilst celebrating and enhancing the character and history of the building. Located just outside the former walls of the City, this area played an important role in London’s wool trade. Throughout the medieval period, timber frames known as ‘tenters’ adorned the area, over which woven woollen fabrics would be stretched taught after being washed. Tied back on hooks embedded into the frame to prevent the woollen fabrics from shrinking, this practice is what gave rise to the expression to be ‘on tenterhooks’.

The new elements of the house added around 50% to the internal usable space of the building, maximising the client’s investment whilst also providing a bespoke and site-specific design. Working with contractors GESCo, the project took 8 months to complete and was delivered on time and to budget.

Ben Powell, Director of Studio Manifest said: “A key driving factor of every project in our studio, something that has become our USP, is the creation of the project ‘Manifesto’. Every building or space has a story for which we are writing the next chapter. Like any good story, each chapter needs to flow from one to the next. We do this by interrogating the physical, social and contextual nuances of both the building and its current custodians. From this we identify the unique elements of the story from which to develop its next chapter”.


  • Begun: Oct 2018
  • Completed: May 2019
  • Floor area: 193m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £240,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Aug 2018
  • Procurement: JCT Intermediate Building contract (IC 2016) - Traditional
  • Address: St. Mark Street, Aldgate, London, E1, United Kingdom

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