Architect: Henning Stummel
Designed by Henning Stummel as a family home and architecture studio, this masterful live/work house featured on Channel Four’s Grand Designs and recently received an RIBA award.
The property occupies a secluded and peaceful backland site accessed through a gap in a Victorian terrace. Formerly a furniture workshop, it has been rebuilt to high modern standards within the same envelope.
The house has a modest street frontage, with warehouse doors providing access to an internal parking space. Glazed doors open up to reveal a soaring live/work space, with electrically operated skylights and huge windows providing extraordinary levels of natural light. The architect has retained the original industrial language, with a pitched roof and delicate steel frame. The space is currently divided by a freestanding storage unit, which contains bookshelves for the architecture studio on one side and kitchen cupboards on the other. The kitchen leads in turn to a dining area, and off to one side is a more intimate sitting area with a wood-burning stove and folding doors onto a courtyard garden. There is a polished concrete floor throughout.
The sleeping accommodation is hidden at the rear of the space, contained within a series of plywood boxes and accessed via a full-height pivoting door. On the lower floor there is a master bedroom with en-suite bathroom and walk-in wardrobe, a second double bedroom that looks onto a small courtyard, and a further bathroom. Upstairs is a third bedroom with a parquet wood floor, a shower room, and a study on the mezzanine overlooking the living space. There is a fresh-air ventilation system in the bedrooms.
The house has huge amounts of storage, including a utility room beyond the dining room, and a very large cellar.
Royal College Street is close to an excellent selection of shops, markets, bars and restaurants in Camden and Kentish Town, with the more extensive facilities of the West End also within easy reach. Local transport links include Camden Town Underground Station (Northern Line) and Camden Road Overground Station. Primrose Hill and Regent’s Park, with their large areas of green space, are within walking distance.
Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. The Modern House has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.
The following is a statement from Henning Stummel Architects:
We fell in love with the original industrial building. The secluded site, set within an urban Victorian block, is accessed via a passage through a terraced house and the space is entered at an elevated level. Historically the development of this plot came about by spanning a roof between other existing buildings. This was done incrementally over time and with the help of a delicate steel frame. Whilst the existing structure was in a derelict state, we really liked the beautiful space, the delicate structure and the peace and tranquility of this place. The brief turned to retaining these qualities in a well-insulated contemporary rebuild and making this space work as a home and office.
The building is in a conservation area and our proposal was to replace a corrugated asbestos shed with a building of almost identical envelope.
Rather than carving up the main space of the building we decided to keep the main ‘industrial’ space as capacious as possible and to juxtapose the scale of the domestic bed and bathrooms by turning these into an oversize sculpture, a composition of plywood boxes set within the larger space. To set the scene, we let the visitor enter through a minute door into a dark passageway. On opening the luminescent glazed doors at the end of this corridor you find yourself at the top of a wide set of stairs overlooking the large tranquil top-lit space, and at the far end you see the composition of plywood boxes.
The project was featured on a memorable episode of Grand Designs. Kevin McCloud’s summary was: “this is simply brilliant!”
The project was featured in the highly regarded German architectural Journal Intelligente Architektur (issue 10-12/13) and has recently been awarded with the prestigious RIBA award.
Henning Stummel set up his architectural practice in 2000, after working with Sir David Chipperfield (1994-2000) and Sir Norman Foster (1993-1994). The practice focuses on creating simple and serene architecture of lasting quality. A modest timber extension to a listed Georgian townhouse won the prestigious “RIBA London Building of the Year Award” in 2005. This was published internationally and Henning was invited to run a design unit at the University of Cambridge. The Workshop, featured on Grand Designs, where Henning and his family live, won a RIBA award in 2014. Kevin McCloud summed up the project by saying “This is absolutely brilliant”.