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con | form architects

con | form architects


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con | form architects - levels ten + eleven

con | form architects

Crafted reordering of canal side duplex apartment

Photographs by

Simone Bossi











The crafted reordering of this canal side apartment announces a distinctly simple, Japanese inspired departure from its mundane, uniform location within a large residential development.

The clients’ eleventh floor, two storey apartment overlooking the Paddington Basin always felt like a resultant space; a by-product of urban massing and volume unit production rather than representative of our clients. Rather than move, they sought to challenge this condition. Initial conversations centred around engendering a bespoke quality to the proposal; a sense of craftsmanship that rallies against this uniformity.

The ornate timber detailing and craft found in the traditional decorative English narrowboats along the canal profoundly influenced the language for the proposal. This in turn led to a parallel with traditional Japanese shoji, a translucent boundary condition formed of lightweight often movable screens, experienced by the clients on their travels and in this instance offering both privacy from overlooking and shade from the powerful evening sun in the form of concealed automated blinds hidden in the re-clad mullions.

Rather than struggle against the buildings existing curtain walling system, the proposal embraces it; using it as a setting out reference for a bespoke timber lined grid, the lines of which draw the eye to the expansive views and connect the apartment to outside.

This concept of bespoke craftsmanship carries through to the matt black kitchen joinery, unique cast concrete kitchen and bathroom sinks, corian bath, LED timber stair handrail and floor to ceiling Douglas fir doors; all made by a single craftsman.

These simple adaptions to the form and layout including a new stair, has transformed these two disparate levels into one connected whole. A concrete pier links both levels – forming a balustrade that wraps around a Dracaena tree the clients have owned for 21 years – a unique and personal experience within the property. This apartment is no longer a series of resultant spaces on the tenth and eleventh floors, it is now theirs.