Creative reuse of a part-built structure by spanning and inhabiting deep steel trusses to suspend the upper accommodation over a column free space.

2000 Civic Trust Awards - Commendation

The building was created on the tightest of budgets from the abandoned shell of a half-built nightclub in Islington. Two-storey-high steel trusses span the former dance floor, creating a spacious and structure-free living space scarcely seen in new-build housing in central London. The trusses themselves support lightweight floor and roof decks. This results in great economy of construction since no new foundations or significant groundworks were necessary. The entire remains of the existing fabric has been effectively recycled.

The structural form of the trusses determines and expresses itself in the spatial arrangement of the first floor, creating bedrooms on the garden side and circulation and service spaces behind. 

A continuous glass wall on the ground floor makes the walled courtyard garden an integral part of the interior space. It is a re-working of the English theme of the Secret Garden, the presence of which is sensed but not seen from the outside.

Evergreen, scented planting climbs wires to steel meshes at the upper floor level making ‘Mashrabiya’ screening for the glass walls of the sleeping accommodation. 

London, UK

Brian Eckersley and Sara Preece

Jon Corpe and Sheila Bull