Parallel Lines

ConForm Architects, London, 2021



All photographs Lorenzo Zandri     Download Original

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Refurbishment of top three floors of Grade II-listed 1840s Islington property, including a roof terrace level that contained ramshackle, polycarbonate roof forms not befitting such a beautiful existing building.

This hitherto neglected summit also lacked connection to the existing roof terrace that had potential for fantastic southerly views toward the ever-changing skyline at Old Street and the City beyond.

The client’s brief was therefore clear: to provide significant improvement to this underwhelming top along with a refurbishment of the historic listed fabric throughout the rest of the property.

Initial discussions centred around how a roof intervention might be pavilion like and open, rather than a heavy enclosed box. Horizontal stucco banding and cornicing features form parallel lines along the terrace of houses that dominate the front elevation, culminating at the second-floor parapet to the roof terrace.

A contemporary thin white ‘band’ is therefore placed atop, horizontally spanning or floating across the roof terrace and continuing the contextual theme set by the host building.

The scheme eventually evolved to take inspiration from Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s legendary Barcelona Pavilion. Opulent materials such as patinated brass, used primarily in a cruciform feature column, quartz and darkened oak were chosen to delineate internal space, while a glazed façade of bi-fold doors and recessed glass dissolve the threshold to the new roof terrace.

The carefully refurbished floors below see minor layout changes to the listed fabric, allowing a more open-plan arrangement to the first floor with a direct connection from the kitchen to the front living space.

Contemporary dark oak joinery elements to the kitchen and dining area continue the established material palette, with quartz counter and splashback and patinated brass detailing to all tactile features.


  • Begun: Sep 2020
  • Completed: Mar 2021
  • Floor area: 106m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £133,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Jul 2020
  • Procurement: JCT minor works
  • CO2 Emissions: 12kg/m2/year
  • Address: St. Peter's Street, Islington, London, N1 8JP, United Kingdom

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