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Light-Lever House

Light-Lever House

Intended to enlarge an existing family home in East Sheen, this project demonstrates what can be achieved within the scope of a more small-scale, permitted development that does not require planning permission.

Despite the apparently modest scale of the scheme, it still reflects a characteristically thoughtful synthesis of space and light. A single storey extension to the side of the main house is transformed into a pavilion-like outdoor room through a new glazed roof and glazed wall.

Exploring the idea of dematerialisation, a cunningly cantilevered roof structure makes the volume appear floating and weightless, suffusing the interior with natural light. The project emphasises the seamless connection of inside and out, opening up the house to the garden and letting spaces and atmospheres merge and interact. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value £226k

Location East Sheen, London

Client Private client – as faceted house 1

Date 2020

Area ±300m²

Design Team Paul McAneary Architects

Design Service Architecture, interior, glazing design, lighting design

Main Contractor Jonathan Shaw, Crane D&B ltd

Teak floor David McNeil, The Plank Co, The Plank Co

Sub Contractor Martin Thorz, London Glass and Glazing Ltd

Supplier Sunvista, Compass Glass Ltd

Awards Design Awards 2020 Living space Design of the Year Award

Press Grand Designs Magazine

Backpacker Hotel

Backpacker Hotel

Combining the luxury of boutique hotels with the freewheeling spirit of international backpacking, this new concept for the first Backpacker Hotel was designed to colonise an existing building in Hoxton in London’s dynamic East End. The project reconfigures and transforms a redundant nightclub into a unique ‘hybrid accommodation’ that is both affordable yet with the distinctive design ethos of a boutique hotel.

The client asked that the existing buildings be extended and remodelled with a new public bar, shop and other facilities to accommodate a new generation of backpackers. Paul McAneary Architects inventive proposal proposal adds a double height space and unifies the overall composition with a new screen of expanded Corten mesh that veils and wraps the main street facade. The fine metal mesh allows light to flow into the depths of the building while simultaneously ensuring privacy for the hotel’s clientele. Corten’s pre-rusted, proto-industrial quality aptly reflects the studied grunginess of its surroundings and dramatically emphasises the hotel’s presence as a new city landmark.

The original Victorian facade is retained and enhanced by the presence of the new Corten screen. During the day, the fine mesh creates beautiful changing reflections while at night, the building becomes a softly glowing lantern, blending with London’s orange street lights. The impact is striking; urban and sophisticated at the same time, epitomising the architectural and programmatic impetus of the project. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value Undisclosed
Location Hoxton, London
Client Private
Date 2012 – Ongoing
Area 345m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design, interior design, lighting design, 3D visualisation
Press 2013 BD New Architects 2013 2012 ‘Hackney hotel breaks mould’, BD Magazine, 5 April 2012

Eco-Lever Apartments

Eco-Lever Apartments

On a site in Camden in north London, Paul McAneary Architects was commissioned to design a new development that could function as either apartments or offices. Bounded by a train track, public park, garage and road, the compact footprint of the site was extremely constrained. Overlooking a busy railway line, it was also subject to noise pollution from passing high-speed trains and the impact of solar gain.

The project encompassed a succession of iterations. Originally it was conceived as an office development, generating a particular visual language of a sleek, double-layered glass skin and generic, sub-divisable floor plates. This initial design was aimed at maximising the size of floor plates through a sharply angular profile dramatically cantilevering out over the railway line. It was subsequently reworked as a residential development, reflected in a cellular plan form without the cantilevered element and a more modelled facade treatment.

Ultimately, after this process of exploration, it was decided to develop an iteration that would be capable of accommodating both commercial and residential use, thus optimising flexibility and sustainability for the client. The brief originally stipulated a total of five flats but through judicious planning, a total of eight apartments is integrated within the five storey block. The cantilevered element is also reprised, creating a bold new landmark for the locale.

The empty site is currently used as a car park, a function which is maintained in the final design with the addition of parking space to the rear of the site. An unusual dual facade creates a visually striking and ecologically-responsive solution to the problem of solar gain and noise pollution. Specially designed insulated cladding panels faced with reconstituted stone provide a foil to sleek mirrored glazing on the inclined facade over the train tracks. The cantilevered structure combined with the building’s advanced energy-saving credentials generates the concept of ‘Eco-Lever’.

Though the site was one of the most restrictive Paul McAneary Architects has worked on, its constraints have been overcome and even turned to advantage. The surrounding community, including existing garden users, the local school and neighbouring businesses, was consulted about the scope of the development. As a result of their feedback, a living green wall is integrated around the base of the building where it meets the public garden, enhancing and enlivening the space for users. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value £5M
Location Camden, London
Client HM Developments
Date 2013-2018
Area 1,476.8m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, structural design, 3D visualisation

Stické Tennis

Stické Tennis

Invented in the late 19th century, Stické Tennis is an indoor racquet sport combining aspects of real tennis, racquets and lawn tennis. It derives from the Ancient Greek word ‘sphairistkè’, meaning ‘the art of playing ball’. Stické is played with standard lawn tennis racquets and low pressure balls in an enclosed court. The court is similar to a real tennis court in shape, but is smaller and differs in construction.

Play takes place using the basics of lawn tennis and the same scoring system, with the addition of side and back walls. As in real tennis, there is a penthouse incorporated as a playing surface and on which the service must land in order to commence each point.

Paul Mcaneary Architects have been commissioned to design the first new stické tennis court to be constructed in Britain in over a century. This involved exhaustively surveying an existing historic building and using this as a basis for developing a contemporary version with a glazed club room overlooking the court. The form of the building is intrinsic to the game, architecture becoming part of sport. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value Undisclosed
Location Wiltshire, England
Client Undisclosed
Date Ongoing
Area 347.85m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design, lighting design, glazing design, structural design, furniture design, 3D visualisation

Click to view Stické Tennis animation

Turners Hill

Turners Hill

Ingeniously exploiting cramped site conditions, this major residential development in Cheshunt, a commuter town to the north of London, consists of two three-storey blocks of flats.Their crisply faceted forms contain 11 units and 7 units respectively. As the site occupies a former car park, the planners originally stipulated that parking should be included at basement level.

However this proved too costly, and Paul McAneary Architects successfully negotiated with the planners that it could be accommodated elsewhere. Overlooking by neighbours, another potentially contentious issue, was solved by the simple expedient of a strategically-placed green screen of planting.

Intended for the private sector but priced affordably, flats are open-plan and economically planned. Characterised by cut-outs and cantilevers, each of the blocks resemble a Chinese puzzle box, fitting together with elegant precision. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value Private
Location Cheshunt, London
Client Private
Date 2017
Area m2
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, landscape design, survey, building control, 3D visualisation

Post-Aircon House

Post-Aircon House

This new build apartment block in London’s Notting Hill explores the principles of passive, environmentally conscious design. In particular, it demonstrates how large brick buildings can be naturally ventilated instead of employing energy-profligate air conditioning.

The design of the facade incorporates specially devised ventilator panels to encourage air circulation through the interior of each flat without compromising either security or experiential and acoustic privacy.

Paul McAneary Architects carried out extensive research in order to convince both the client and the planning authority that the proposed system was feasible, generating commensurate savings on energy costs and acting as a paradigm for a new form of responsive, energy conscious design in an urban residential context. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value Private
Location Notting Hill, London
Client Private Developer
Date 2016
Area 627.85m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, landscape design, structural design, survey, planning, 3D visualisation

Haptic House

Haptic House

Haptic House is a renovation of a Grade II-listed Victorian dwelling in Hampstead to meet the changing needs of a young family. With its concern for simple, natural materials intended to age gracefully over time, the project is underscored by the concept of wabi-sabi, a Japanese aesthetic code which stresses the beauty of imperfection and transience.

The original house was an unmodernised, four storey semi-detached villa in a Conservation Area. The project focused on extending the rear of the building and remodelling its various floors, with only minimal changes to the historic frontage. Inverting the conventional relationship of living and sleeping spaces, the ground floor is converted into a master bedroom and the lower ground level transformed into a fluid, open-plan living, dining and kitchen space in direct contact with the garden. The topmost storey is remodelled to create a pair of identical home offices, with back-to-back children’s bedrooms on the first floor.

Reinforcing the connection between daily life and the presence of nature, the lower ground floor is excavated by half a metre so the garden is at eye level. A crisply detailed frameless glass extension augments the living space, enhancing light penetration and garden views. Glass is employed structurally, as columns and beams, while motorised aerofoil louvres made of cedar protect the delicately diaphanous butterfly roof from glare. A central gutter channels rainwater off the glass extension on to a ‘staining wall’. Sluiced by rust-impregnated rainwater interacting with tadelakt, a traditional, lime-based Moroccan plaster, the appearance of the wall will evolve over time.

The transition from inside to outside is defined and expressed through different manifestations of stone. Individual York stones are inset into a specially mixed terrazzo which forms the floor of the living space. This ‘stepping stone’ path flows out into the garden, extending up a cantilevered staircase crafted from solid stone, designed to emphasise its monolithic quality. Looping around the garden, the meandering trajectory is marked by reclaimed sleepers made from Azobe hardwood. Its focal point is the Suspended Shade, a dramatically cantilevered timber structure which functions as a discrete pavilion for contemplation and entertaining.

Ground and lower ground floors are linked by an immaculately detailed timber staircase featuring a wafer thin balustrade of laminated glass capped by a slim bronze handrail. This forensic yet poetic attention to detail extends to every aspect of the remodelling. For instance, the book-matched oak veneered doors enclosing the long storage wall in the main living space were exceptionally complex to produce, making intense demands on the craft skills of specialist joiners. Equally, the Spathroom on the first floor is a tour-de-force of highly considered detailing and fabrication. Inspired by Japanese bathing rituals, the outcome is a sumptuously sensual bathroom lined with teak and slate to create an intimate, womb-like enclave for washing and relaxing.

As the clients work from home, the upper storey is brought into play to provide two identical offices. In a twist worthy of an espionage novel, small secret rooms are inserted behind twin libraries, controlled by electromagnetic locks that can be concealed in the spine of a book.

Rigorous emphasis was placed on the selection of materials and how they are put together and experienced. Natural materials, such as York stone, oak, teak and slate were chosen as they have an inherently warm, haptic quality that responds to touch. A bespoke blackened, unpolished patina resembling dark bronze was applied to all ironmongery and metal fittings. Silky smooth clay plaster and rough exposed brickwork add further textural and visual richness. Embodying a crucial tenet of wabi-sabi, materials are intended to be subtly transmuted by the passage of time, weathering beautifully through use and the slow patina of age. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value £1.6m
Location Hampstead, London
Client Private
Date 2011-2015
Area 474m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design through to end of construction, material creation, lighting design, glazing design, landscape design, planning
Consultants Gareth Atkinson, William Dick TBC
Main Contractor Symm
Sub Contractor Simon Heslop, Paul Davies, William Garvey
Supplier Lazenby, tadelakt, Delta Light
Press 2018 ‘Paul McAneary Architects’ dlist Verified
Awards 2017 Designer K&B Awards – Won Bathroom Design of the Year (over £15k) with Spathroom 2016 The UK Property Awards – Highly Commended for Best Architecture Single Residence London 2015 The Wood Awards – Finalist for Interior Design of the Year with Spathroom

Blackhorse Tower

Blackhorse Tower

As a means of delivering high density residential accommodation allied to a mixture of uses on a peripheral brownfield site, Blackhorse Tower is emblematic of the development challenges currently confronting London. Located at Blackhorse Road station in Walthamstow, the site lies at the northern end of the Victoria line where it meets the overground. Its proximity to tube and rail stations presented a considerable design and structural engineering challenge in terms of situating and anchoring foundations. As result, the building footprint of snakes across the site to avoid impinging on the underground lines.

A quartet of 30 storey point blocks are connected by open lift shafts to minimise overshadowing of neighbouring buildings. Duplex apartments are efficiently planned to optimise natural light and views out over the surrounding reservoirs. The intermediate storeys of the development contain a hotel and spa, with parking and retail units at ground floor level to animate the public realm. A dual cantilevered swimming pool, believed to be the world’s first, forms a bravura set piece element poised between blocks.

Taking advantage of scale and repetition, the blocks employ modular forms of construction to cut building times. Ventilation panels set in the crisply geometric facades encourage natural ventilation and so reduce energy use. As the tower straddles the tube station a new exit will provide direct access to it, consolidating a quick and easy connection with central London. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value £71M
Location Walthamstow, London
Client HM Developments
Date 2017
Area 14,000 m²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service Architects for the feasibility study for this plot working with planning authority and politicians establishing the height potential of this site.

German Student Micro Living

German Student Micro Living

Paul McAneary Architects were appointed to provide accommodation for 5000 students across Germany on city centre sites from Kiel in the north to Munich in the south. The aim of the project is to remodel and adapt existing redundant buildings of the post-war era in an efficient and economical manner.

Each building is stripped back to its structural frame and effectively redesigned. Borrowing techniques from yacht design, in which function is paramount and space standards squeezed to an absolute minimum, bedroom are compactly but ingeniously planned. Though necessarily small, at 10 sqm per unit, bedrooms are augmented by more generous areas of communal space to encourage social interaction.

Within each unit, the considered application of design techniques such as shadow gaps, lighting and mirrors mitigates the compressed scale to create a highly civilised environment for studying and sleeping. Through the use of 150 mm shadow gaps, furniture appears to ‘float’ off the floor, and the furniture itself draws inspiration from classic Bauhaus models with elegant metal frames, so rooms are not dominated by bulky furniture.

Materials are carefully selected to require minimal maintenance and actually improve with use and age. Taking advantage of prefabrication, bathrooms are modular pods, with a simple plumbing connection that slots quickly and neatly into each unit. [By Catherine Slessor*]

Contract Value £350M
Location Kiel, Bremen, Berlin, Stuttgart, Munich, Germany
Client DREF
Date 2014-2017
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, furniture design, 3D visualisation, Creation of Design Brand Manual for Design Implementation