Luxury renovation of 123 St George’s Square, London
London-based architectural practice, Burwell Deakins, has renovated the 123 St George’s Square project. Completed in 2013, the architects have transformed the Grade II building, which was originally built by Thomas Cubitt, who also designed
the east face of Buckingham Palace.
The architects have transformed the six-storey building from a maze of bedsits to eight elegant, modern apartments, one house and new build property in the Pimlico area of London, England.
Restoring the original Georgian features has revealed the history of the building from its construction in the middle of the 19th-century to the present day.
Before work could commence on the historic building, the architects had to gain planning permission from the local council.
Scott Mccallum, architect from Burwell Deakins, said to Adelto: “Both English Heritage and Westminster council had strong opinions as to what was permissible due to the importance of the building; St George’s Square was laid out for the Grosvenor Family by Thomas Cubitt in the 1830s and is the only square in London that directly opens onto the River Thames.”
During the 20th-century the building had become a boarding school before being purchased by the Great Ormond Street Hospital, which had converted it into nurses’ accommodation. “This caused the rooms to be divided and the fine historic details obscured. As the century came to an end, the accommodation had come to resemble bedsits, with most of the original decorative features covered or damaged amid the warrens of corridors,” adds Mccallum.
The biggest challenge the architects faced was preserving the Grade II listed building whilst building modern apartments that would suit 21st-century living. “The aim was to preserve and restore one of London’s most beautiful stuccoed terraces whilst creating a number of apartments that would meet the requirements of the most demanding buyer,” says Mccallum.
From the outset the architects sought to establish the history of the property through a series of non-invasive investigations, almost like detectives digging out long lost secrets.
Modern services and interior design have been carefully knitted into the existing structure, and new bathrooms, en-suites, kitchens and the like have been expressed as pieces of furniture, carefully designed to complement the retained historic fabric.
Here’s what Burwell Deakins Architects said about the project to Adelto…
How would you describe the design of 123 St George’s Square?
The property is a beautiful example of regency architecture, with the stunning proportions that make homes of this period so desirable. Once we had restored the original spaces a number of craftspeople were commissioned to create crisp, clean pieces of furniture that contain the essentials of modern living such as bathrooms, kitchens and storage. This allowed the historic proportions to remain and become an elegant counterpoint to the contemporary elements.
What stands out most for you in the property?
123 St George’s Square is itself the highlight of the design. It celebrates its corner location on the river with generous French windows of exquisite detailing and some of the most glorious proportions in this part of residential London. Through the careful design of the new pieces, we were able to enhance the original qualities and reveal the decorative plasterwork and joinery from the 19th-century.
Further, through a clear understanding of the original construction methodologies we have been able to carefully repair the building to allow it to stand and function for another 100 years.
What made you take on this project?
The opportunity to work with one of Thomas Cubitt’s great urban set pieces was a privilege so when Great Ormond Street Hospital’s Children’s Charity, who now owned the building, approached us we relished their challenge. Restoring what had been used as nurses’ accommodation back to its original form revealed the history of the building, from construction during the 19-century to the present day. The project also allowed us to put our own work into perspective.
What kind of trends are are you seeing in luxury residential developments?
The upper reaches of the market and in particular international buyers are demanding large lateral floorplates, in contrast to the typical up-and-down London Townhouse. We have been able to achieve this on a number of the upper floors of 123 St George’s Square.
Audio-visual and centralised music systems are being demanded in all our work, whether these are buy-to-let properties in the East End or homes around Sloane Square, but certainly at a mid-level they tend to be less overly-complex than they were two years ago. However, at the top end buyers are demanding complete systems that can be remotely adjusted from tablets or smartphones.
Images courtesy of Savills and Richard Ivey
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