For the renovation and expansion of this listed house in East London, Archer + Braun draws inspiration from postwar Brutalism.
Stepney Green, an East London neighborhood peppered with historic buildings, provides the backdrop for the 1,100-square-foot, Georgian-style abode of fashion photographer Scott Trindle and his wife, Camilla. The couple wanted to update and expand the listed residence, which sits within the Albert Gardens Conservation Area, and create an open-plan kitchen and dining space. They tapped architects Archer + Braun for a renovation that would both modernize and respect the home’s Georgian characteristics.
"In this part of East London, three-quarters of the original Georgian and Victorian buildings were bombed during the war," says Archer + Braun cofounder Stuart Archer. "Postwar from 1960s, there were a lot of new, concrete estates built. We took inspiration from some of the principal materials of this era, including Brutalism."
Archer used large, bespoke, precast concrete panels to mimic the tones of the yellow London stock brick found in adjacent homes. The panels were then grit-blasted to expose yellow, orange, and brown aggregate. The home, named Béton Brit after the architectural surface Béton Brut, also features dark metal sliding doors that offset the rough finish.
"In a nod to midcentury British architects taking the French Auguste Perret’s Béton Brut and adopting it as their own to create Brutalism, the client wanted to develop an aesthetic that is recognizably British," says Archer.
Inside, the concrete floor was processed to expose the aggregate, mirroring the home’s exterior. The team also restored a number of Georgian design elements including the cornicing, skirting, fireplaces, flooring, stairs, and original wood panelling. Traditional decor manufactured in the United Kingdom permeates the space, including countertops that were hand-fabricated from old-growth Burmese teak flooring sourced from Plaistow Hospital, a local Victorian building.
The kitchen features IKEA cabinets with bespoke, Shaker-style door fronts. To incorporate as much natural light as possible, the architects incorporated skylights and lots of glazing.
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In the bathroom, Archer + Braun implemented a Moroccan plaster technique and found an installer who specializes in "tadelakt," a waterproof plaster. "Tadelakt also has a nice tactile quality, is slightly textured, and just off-matte, so it reacts well to natural light," says Archer.
The entire renovation was approached with sustainability in mind, using locally sourced and upcycled materials. The architects pared down the design to its elemental forms to foster a fresh, yet timeless, aesthetic.
Engineer: Harrison Shortt Structural Engineers
Photographer: David Barbour
Reclamation: Lassco Ropewalk
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