Old Workshop by Jack Woolley

Slideshow: people strolling by this brick wall in London might miss the disguised entrance to a secret office and home.

Old Workshop by Jack Woolley

The wall appears to merely bridge the gap between two existing properties, but is in fact a screen across the entire facade of a building designed by British architect Jack Woolley.

Old Workshop by Jack Woolley

Located on the site of a former carpenter’s workshop, Old Workshop has two storeys, one of which is completely submerged underground.

Old Workshop by Jack Woolley

An office and meeting room occupy the ground floor level, while the basement contains a residence that is naturally lit through a row of walk-on skylights.

Old Workshop by Jack Woolley

Pine salvaged from the former workshop roof was used to construct cabinets in the kitchen.

Old Workshop by Jack Woolley

If you're intrigued by secret entrances, check out our story about a disguised passageway concealed behind a mirror.

Old Workshop by Jack Woolley

Photography is by David Grandorge, apart from where otherwise stated.

Old Workshop by Jack Woolley

The text below is from Jack Woolley:


Old Workshop

A project to rehabilitate a derelict carpenter’s workshop which had been used to make walking sticks by doubling its size and converting it to live/work.

Old Workshop by Jack Woolley

The original workshop was built behind a London stock brick wall that linked the neighbouring terraces.

Old Workshop by Jack Woolley

This wall and the gap above it that framed a landscape of tree canopies were important to the integrity of the streetscape and a decision was taken to preserve them.

Old Workshop by Jack Woolley

This led to a bespoke door design piercing the wall to form a new entrance – integrated into the brickwork but visible only as a rectangular witness line.

Old Workshop by Jack Woolley

To increase the habitable volume, a new basement level with generous ceiling heights was inserted under the original, but offset horizontally to allow daylight to penetrate through walk on roof lights running along its length.

Old Workshop by Jack Woolley

Materials salvaged from the derelict structure were used to restore the original building with small interventions to accommodate changed requirements of day lighting, thermal efficiency and circulation.

Old Workshop by Jack Woolley

Where possible finishes were integrated into the structure – for example, the floor screed was polished, eliminating the need for a secondary finish.

Old Workshop by Jack Woolley

Pitch pine boards salvaged from the roof were dried out, lightly planed and used to make kitchen units.

Old Workshop by Jack Woolley

To extend the useful life of the building, it had to function in a variety of live:work usage ratios as needs changed.

Old Workshop by Jack Woolley

The way the spaces could be used was planned and services were provided to enable different combinations to be adopted easily.

Old Workshop by Jack Woolley

Architect: Jack Woolley
Structural Engineer: C&R Design

Old Workshop by Jack Woolley

Site address: Old Workshop, Almorah Road, London N1 3EN
Timetable: riba stages a-d 12/08 - 05/09, riba stages e-h 05/09 – 02/10, riba stages j-k 03/10 – 06/11

Old Workshop by Jack Woolley