Andrewes House

Quinn Architects, London, 2021



All photographs Rob Parrish     Download Original

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Renovation of a Type 20 one-bedroom Barbican tower apartment

Due to the complexity of the detailing and a highly personalised design
he project was procured in an unusual way. The practice found it difficult to get excellent quality and management from other contractors on small projects, and subsequently formed Modern Works, a contractor service that is design-led and specialised in bespoke joinery.

This allowed for a more collective and hands-on approach between design and construction, guaranteeing the materials and fabrication would provide a build that not only looks great but is also intelligent, appropriate to the Barbican estate and built to last.

The brief called for a sensitive refurbishment with thoughtful and modern introductions to sit harmoniously alongside the building’s original features. Many of the fittings and fixtures were designed and built directly in a workshop, with the materials sourced locally wherever possible. The kitchen design is an evolution of the original Barbican galley kitchen. All doors and cupboards have recessed kitchen handles, spray lacquered solid MDF doors, Italian laminate interiors and a stainless-steel countertop with integrated LED lighting. For continuity,the same materiality is applied throughout the apartment. New oak sprayed sliding doors partition the living area and studio, creating a flexible space for working from home.

The adapted layout allows copious natural light into both sides of the apartment, bringing out striking internal compositions. Great care was taken to refurbish the existing external hardwood frames to highlight uninterrupted views of the Barbican water gardens.

The project’s success comes from a deep understanding of materials and their limitations and inherent possibilities, with the emphasis put squarely on local craft, humble materials and traditional techniques. The overall result is a renovation that is imbued with sensitivity, elegance and refinement.

Annual CO2 data was not provided


  • Begun: Aug 2021
  • Completed: Dec 2021
  • Floor area: 72m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £132,500
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Feb 2021
  • Procurement: Traditional
  • Address: Barbican, London, EC2Y, United Kingdom

Professional Team