Tell me... Who else is going around snooping into private homes this month in the name of London Festival of Architecture?! *waves hands in the air* US! ARCHiTRACKER has been on a snoop!
Passing by what seems to be an ordinary, quiet, residential street in Richmond, set within the Kew Green Conservation area, you cannot miss this eccentric weathered perforated steel facade shouting out at you... and there it is - Kew House, one of the featured projects by Piercy&Co.
At first glance, you can see the house is split into two to avoid being a large bulky volume, with pre-fabricated perforated weathered steel cladding units, connected by circulation encased in glazing. One unit is set partially behind the remnants of a Victorian stable, giving this elegant house a brilliant fuse of glass, steel and history.
Walking closer to the building, you begin to notice the perforated steel imitates the dappled light through the branches of trees. As we enter through the gates, on the left, is a sunken courtyard with a blooming tree, and downstairs... the floor to ceiling glazing reveals a basement of the family's playground.
Kew House is a home for a family of four, with a simple informal layout of multiple level-changes, incidental spaces and accidental lights. The house is like a playground for the children! In actual fact, to access the basement, you can go via the steel staircase OR the slideeee! The space has swings AND a trampoline! Guess where my favourite space is! It also houses a workshop too! This floor is intended for flexibility and the potential to modify the space to suit the client's needs. Ie. temporary performance space for us!
This was also no ordinary visit or just the plain ole tour inside the building, there was entertainment involved! By Tim Ross and Kit Warhurst! They are a fantastic duo namely, 'Man about the house' from Australia, who performs in iconic, extraordinary and breathtaking architecturally designed houses or buildings and turn them into an intimate temporary performance space. What else is more engaging than learning about the building than with Stand-up comedy and music!?
With a short break, we are allowed to freely roam around the house, being cautious not to touch or break anything, however, we are given permission to chill on the sofas, walk around and talk to each other. (and grab yourself a bottle of beer!)
Beside the glass-encased staircase is the family's private courtyard, accessible from both wings of the house via the kitchen/dining room's double doors and half sunken living room on either ends, allowing a seamless transition from inside to out.
And finally, the owner's bedrooms on the top floors on both wings of the house, each occupying a cosy corner, with natural daylight from the skylights, and light from the perforated steel cladding.
The two shells housing each wing are formed of 4mm thick weathering steel – a hardworking combination of structure and façade. The weathering steel is maintenance free, essential for the enclosed site, and softened by a patchwork of expressed welds and perforated panels. The deep orange tones and perforations within the skin echo the dappled light and autumnal palette of nearby Kew Gardens. Inside, oak veneer paneling and Dinesen flooring are the basis of a warm and natural material palette.
Piercy & Company are a renowned London-based practice founded in 2001. Part of a new generation of forward-thinking British architects, the studio prides itself on the practice of ‘designing through making’, utilising a digital fabrication centre and workshops to test new ideas. Collaborations with artists and makers continually invigorate the studio. The recently completed Clerkenwell office development, Turnmill, has just been awarded an RIBA National Award 2016.
The London Festival of Architecture is Europe’s biggest annual architecture festival, and returns to the capital from 1-30 June 2017 with hundreds of events exploring ‘memory’. We celebrate London as a global architectural hub, provoke questions about the life of the city, and promote positive change to its public realm.
Let us know if you have visited any of the venues at LFA this year by emailing [email protected]! We'd love to hear your stories and which buildings you have visited! And you never know, we might bump into each other at an event! ;)