Clear Architects have been highly commended for The Sunday Times British Home Awards 2013 for Coborn House.
The East London building began as modest industrial premises, either an old factory or a warehouse, dating back to the Victorian era. More recently, it had been divided into multi-use offices, and the building itself was in very poor condition.
The structure sits in a conservation area and had planning consent for a change of use to residential. However, Clear Architects believed that the design could be vastly improved by inserting a roof terrace within the void between the M-shaped structure, as each unit has its own pitched roof with a central gutter. This would create private space for the residents, without contravening conservation demands to maintain the external appearance of the building.
The overall concept was to create two high-end properties, while remaining true to the building’s best features. The proposals resulted in stripping the building back to its ‘internal carcass’, removing walls and ceilings. The fabric was then upgraded to comply with Building Regulations.
The building has an upside-down living arrangement, with bedrooms on the ground floor and living space at upper level. This was done to make the most of the natural light of the upper floor, with its proposed connection to the roof terrace. The upper floor’s once-hidden vaulted roof is now exposed to give a loft-style interior.
Externally, the building was stripped back to expose aesthetic detailing, including arched brickwork and bullnosed brick window sills. The new entrance features a timber sleeper boundary wall and integrated external lighting.
The project was selected for the Conversion, Restoration or Refurbishment category and was up against other architecturally excellent designs.
See the Sunday Times British Home Awards .