Apartment Block

Coffey Architects, London, 2020



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A hand-crafted, two-storey apartment, designed as a solid piece of joinery and ‘inserted’ into an existing building

The home’s main living and circulation spaces have been carved out of over 30,000 individually cut and laid cross-section blocks made of European Oak.

Located within Kingsway Place, the same estate as our RIBA award-winning Hidden House, the building is Grade II-listed and part of Clerkenwell’s Conservation Area. It was originally built in 1892 by T.J. Bailey and was converted from a school to residential and commercial use in 2000.

To create ‘Apartment Block’, we began by stripping away all non-original features, including everything that had been inserted in the conversion. The envelope is left open and bare to retain the drama and history of the space and they have maximised the sense of openness, light and spatial quality by cleverly reconfiguring the existing mezzanine over the huge double-height living room.

Behind the living area (and below the second storey mezzanine) sits a contemporary kitchen and a flexible dining room, which can be converted into a second bedroom when necessary. There are sliding pocket doors to this space, letting light soak deep into the plan and exaggerating the size of the space at the ground floor. These doors can be closed off as needed. A staircase, which has been moved to the side of the plan for efficiency, ceremonially leads up to a study area that looks back over the double-height space and is screened off from the master bedroom behind beautifully crafted, Japanese-inspired sliding screens.

All photos by Timothy Soar


  • Begun: Feb 2019
  • Completed: Jul 2020
  • Floor area: 95m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £180,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Jan 2019
  • Procurement: Traditional contract
  • Address: London, EC1, United Kingdom

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