Photo: David Grandorge

Photo: David Grandorge

House with dance studio by Moving Architecture.
We wanted to create a building that could combine a complex programme of living and working – a dance studio, design office and family home – on a low budget, writes Ed Frith. We had expected to convert an existing building but a classic mews plot emerged at auction. And having lived in the area and run a ‘hacking at Hackney’ unit at the University of Greenwich, the nature of the area and its Lenin-to-Sinclair psychogeography had already been absorbed.
Clarence Mews is hidden behind Clapton Square, and is between a conservation area and the Pembury Estate. The site, nine metres wide and 27 metres long, was the garden of a Georgian house until the 1960s, but was used most recently as a mechanic’s yard.

The house runs perpendicular to the mews. It is 4.5 metres deep and faces south into a courtyard. A nine metre square dance studio turns to face west, into the courtyard. The height of the studio declines towards the east to take account of neighbouring Georgian houses. The calm, neutral space with a cross-weave sprung floor has a double-height window to the courtyard and sliding screens, which reveal a ‘sliver’ of services and staircases to the choreographer’s hang-out space above.
Also on the largely glazed ground floor are a design studio and family living spaces, with some overlap between working, eating, meeting, fighting and relaxing. Sleeping is above. Flexibility, sustainability and economy (£1,200/square metre overall) suggested a timber frame with cellulose insulation and sheathing. The walls are clad with render, plywood and blockwork to the neighbours.

Project team and selected suppliers:
Architect: Moving Architecture: design team: Ed Frith, Caroline Salem, Nathan Vinal, Channa Vithana; engineer: Price & Myers; dance floor: Tim Heale; groundworks & frame: Woodgrange Construction; windows: Clapton Glazing; steelwork: Brew Brothers; insulation: Constructive Individuals; copper, zinc: Terry Bennett; timber frame: Masonite; cellulose insulation: Excel Products; aluminium windows: Reynaer; render: Renotex; maple floor: British Hardwoods; ironmongery: Yannedis; roof: Anderson; paints: Sadolin, Keim.
AT176/March 07 p44.

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