Croft’s expertise in residential refurbishment and basements within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, proved invaluable on this ambitious remodelling of a five-storey Victorian townhouse in Chelsea. We worked closely with the Architect Stephen Fletcher, to achieve the client’s brief of a high spec family home to serve as a ‘private Tate Modern’.
To project the grandeur of the house a stunning double height gallery was constructed to the rear. The main drawing room forms a vast atrium space that soars two stories high, with stunning 18 foot tall windows creating a voluminous and bright space looking out to the garden area. Forming such spaces is tricky in structural terms; the Victorian walls were not designed to span 7m without lateral restraint from the floors.
The basement excavation included the entire footprint of the house, vaults and most of the rear garden. Croft Structural Engineers provided the ground works and superstructure temporary works. Our expertise in temporary works design meant that we were well placed to deliver the brief; of devising a method of propping the original façade and roof including lateral stability of neighbouring properties whilst placing a new basement below.
The stair case was formed as a saw tooth concrete stair; the zig-zag of the stair profile is seen below the stairs and above. The stair spiralled around the central core providing views to the double height space. In the basement a fish tank was positioned below the stairs. The architect called for the stair finish to be polished concrete. To produce a floating feel the stairs also did not touch the walls. These three factors combined meant that the detailing of the stairs and its construction became a complex item. The stairs could not be polished in situ and had to be carried in, there were one some locations for lifting beams, supports had to be hidden. Croft worked closely with the contractor architect, and specialist stair manufacturer to provide a workable solution.
This project was a couple of years in the making but the transformation to a Tate Modern-style luxurious family home is truly amazing. The press has been all over this Chelsea property, including a substantial feature in the Telegraph and it is also due to be featured in the 2016 RIBA London Housing Magazine.
There can be no better recommendation than that of the client. We have since been commissioned by the neighbour to undertake the structural works for their property too.
Architect: Stephen Fletcher
Contractor: City Interiors
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