Studio Seilern uses replacement facades and an origami-form mansard roof to lend new life to a tired London office building
Studio Seilern has remodelled a 1970s office building in Kensington, west London, adding a new stair and lift core and an ‘origami’ roof structure, and recladding the street facade to give the formerly nondescript structure a contemporary expression. “The challenges of the existing building included limited floor-to-ceiling heights, residential-type windows and an elevation treatment of little or no merit”, says the architect. “The new facade incorporates more commercial large-scale windows, which mitigate the lack of natural light, and reintroduces the principles established by the late-nineteenth-century buildings that once occupied the site”.
At ground level, large warehouse-type window openings with floor-to-ceiling glazing are introduced, giving the building a distinctive character which is more reflective of its use.
At roof level, where rights-to-light limited any increase in size, an existing mansard was replaced by a contemporary interpretation of the form. “Using an origami geometry, the mansard roof pitches back from the street front to achieve the desired ceiling height while avoiding an imposing bulk”, says the architect. “The regularity of the structure adds to the compelling rhythm of the facade. Inward-facing triangular full-height glazed openings create a light and open interior environment.”