Amhurst Road by Edgley Design

Amhurst Road by Edgley Design

Hoxton architects Edgley Design have tucked a rubber-clad residence and aluminium artist's studio behind a row of semi-detached houses in Hackney.

Amhurst Road by Edgley Design

Above: photograph is by the architects

The two new buildings take the place of an old workshop that previously filled the site and they can only be accessed through a gated alleyway.

Amhurst Road by Edgley Design

Because of their proximity to surrounding residences, both buildings have few windows and instead receive natural daylight through rooftop glazing.

Amhurst Road by Edgley Design

Above: photograph is by the architects

A wall of plants climbs up around the side of the rubber house, while two small courtyards are squeezed into the spaces between and in front of the buildings.

Amhurst Road by Edgley Design

The house and studio are occupied by textile designer Laura Hamilton.

Amhurst Road by Edgley Design

Edgley Design are located on Hoxton Street, in the southern part of the London borough of Hackney.

Amhurst Road by Edgley Design

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Amhurst Road by Edgley Design

Photography is by Joel Knight, apart from where otherwise stated.

Here's some more explanation from Edgley Design:

Amhurst Road


Our clients have owned and worked on the site for over a decade and want to modernise the buildings, as the existing studios are poorly built and insulated and in a state of disrepair. However, they want to retain the principles of the existing buildings, to create a new and sustainable small community.

The proposal is to knock down the existing studio, and rebuild an artists studio with better facilities, as well as a separate two bedroom house all within the same footprint.

Amhurst Road by Edgley Design

The concept is for a shiny metal box for the studio, as a domesticated re-interpretation of an industrial shed, contrasted with a rubber clad, tactile black box for the new house.

The proposal is designed to be flexible so that it is possible for it to operate as separate buildings with separate occupations as well as allowing the option for it to be used by a single inhabitant.

Artists Studio

The studio is a simple shed constructed from exposed aluminium sandwich cladding panels. The shiny industrial material will reflect the working nature of the studio, while this will be offset by minimal detailing which gives the shell a domestic quality suited to its context.

Amhurst Road by Edgley Design

Residential Unit

The new dwelling is organised as a series of internalised experiences, that create a private retreat from the bustle of its Hackney Central location. This concept also allows for privacy and security, important issues in a backyard location, both for the inhabitants and neighbours.

The main volume of the house is articulated as a black rubber clad box, tactile and seamless, in sharp contrast to the rambling greenery of the surrounding sites. A wall wraps around this as a separate element, forming rooflights to the hall and stair. Planting in front of this wall will give the appearance of a ’green wall’ almost entirely hiding the house from the view of neighbours.

Amhurst Road by Edgley Design

Security/ Privacy/ Overlooking

The proposal is designed so that there are few windows looking out. Most daylight and sunlight is received from roof lights and the internal courtyard.

Designing an inward looking house enables complete privacy for the inhabitants. Moreover it prevents any problems with overlooking from neighbouring properties as views are private.

The few windows which are proposed are carefully orientated to avoid overlooking any neighbours, while making the most of some of the wonderful views out from the site.

Security is an issue for the site as it is hidden from view, and accessed only by an alleyway. The design deals with these issues as it has no windows on the ground floor, and the only access at ground level is by the front door to each property.

The existing access to the site is the same but the proposal incorporates a safer environment by providing a private gated entrance to the new dwelling and a shared semi-public space outside the workshop.

Amhurst Road by Edgley Design

Sustainability: Technology/ Materials/ Environment

During the technical development stage of the project we will be looking at all the environmental opportunities in the project, such as water recycling, solar hot water, and biomass boilers. The intention of both our clients and ourselves is to create a building performing to the highest environmental standards.

The proposal is inherently environmental through the re-use of an existing brownfield site. From a social point of view, the proposal is also supporting a small business, and creates a small, sustainable, mixed use community.

The construction strategy is to use timber frame for the new house. This allows the external envelope to become effectively solid insulation, and in a backland site allows a structure to be transported in small parts and easily assembled to a complex form on site.

Amhurst Road by Edgley Design

Above: photograph is by the architects

For the artists studio, a composite insulated metal panel system was used. These composite panels are lightweight and quick to erect, and are well suited to simple large span buildings such as this. While not suitable for a residential building, they are ideal for a studio building, giving good thermal performance and maximising working space.

Both systems reduced time on site, which reduced the inconvenience to neighbours during the construction period. They are highly sustainable through control of wastage and quality off site, and in the case of timber frame through the use of timber.

The design incorporates a low tech green wall which is both environmental and also hides the main building, providing a screen for the views from Amhurst Road properties.

Amhurst Road by Edgley Design

The proposal does not include a car parking space and promotes greener travel by incorporating bicycle facilities on site.

Scale and appearance

The original workshop footprint covered 164 sq m. This building almost filled the site, and had no private exterior space. The new building reduces the footprint to 141 sq m and allows the site to breath by incorporating private external space (the residential courtyard)

Amhurst Road by Edgley Design

The area of the residential unit is 105 sq m
The area of the artist’s studio is 79 sq m

The buildings surrounding the site are all 2 or 3 storey buildings, mostly substantially larger than the proposed building. To the back of the site there is a large gable wall with no windows, which provides shelter visually for the proposed residential building, and the main mass of this building is built up against this gable wall.

The studio building is lower to reflect the more open nature of this side of the site.

Amhurst Road by Edgley Design

A low sheltered terrace between the two buildings functions as a secondary living space to the residential unit at ground floor, while providing a visual break between the two buildings when viewed externally, reducing the apparent bulk of the scheme, and articulating clearly the differing uses of the site.

The proposed green wall is slightly lower than the main residential block, which helps to reduce the apparent bulk and size of the residential building.

where: Amhurst Road, Hackney
who: Private Client
completion: Oct 2011
value: £300,000

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