Lyons O'Neill

Dwellings: Transforming spaces into homes

There is a massive amount to consider when it comes to any kind of building design, but this is especially so in the case of designing and building homes. When taking on conversion and renovation projects, the necessity of working within the original structures whilst also creating something modern, comfortable and desirable for future inhabitants always presents an interesting and enjoyable challenge.

This was the case with Sovereign Court, located in Wapping in South London, where we were presented with the task of transforming the existing underused office buildings, forming a quadrangle around a central courtyard, into 124 high quality apartments. Although the buildings had been functional as offices, the demands of creating a home space required a different use of the space at hand and significant changes. Working alongside Open London Architects and Quinn London Ltd, we undertook extensive refurbishment works and structural alterations, including floor infills to otherwise redundant voids, as well as a major reconfiguration of load bearing walls.

Changing the purpose of a site to create new residential space is also the focus of our Kingston Road Project. The site was previously occupied by a steel frame warehouse and this history is being reflected in the new building, with its shape designed in homage to the existing warehouse geometry of the area. This has been done by recreating the shape of the warehouse roof of the five 2-storey modular residential units, using an arrangement of cranked steel beams – incorporating the old features into the new to build striking yet comfortable new residential space for future inhabitants.

As the pressure to create more residential space increases, the ability to transform structures and sites designed for other purposes into quality accommodation is of increasing value. Yet, as with everything, construction is about quality, not quantity and it’s vital to build structures which work with the technicalities, history and aesthetic of the existing site but don’t compromise on final function and style. It’s only through this careful balance that you can successfully make the space into a home.