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“The one that we weren’t sure about putting on our website.”

Grove Lane
London SE5

Client — Private
Area — 110sqm (residential) + 35sqm (commercial)
Use — Private residential + ground floor commercial
Status — Complete

Photography — Justin Barton

Our design for a new–build, which comprises a small shop and maisonette, aims to respect the wider conservation area and repair a ‘missing tooth’ in the street frontage to Grove Lane with a sensitive and affectionate use of the prevailing architectural language.
4a–6 Grove Lane sits within a Southwark Conservation Area that contains some of the finest Georgian houses in London. The long, thin, wedge–shaped site had lain derelict for decades before being purchased by the current owner.

The elevation is deliberately split into three to echo the plot width of neighbouring terraces and relies heavily on high quality detailing to lift it beyond pastiche.

These details include the use of lime–mortar render and reclaimed stock bricks which give a softer and more chalky appearance to the elevations than could be achieved with modern cement mortar and machine–made bricks.

Similarly, traditional linseed oil paint is used on the sash window frames (it smells good and ages beautifully) and the frames themselves are recessed into the brickwork to keep their visible width traditionally thin. ‘Crown’ glass used in the hand–finished shop front is intentionally wobbly to prevent the building looking too crisp and the cast iron balcony fronts are traditionally made using the same moulds as the older buildings next door.

But the proof of the pudding is in the eating — for us, the success of the design was sealed when a local blog referred to this brand new building as a ‘refurbishment’.

The project was awarded The Giles Worsley Award for a New Building in a Georgian Context at the Georgian Group Architectural Awards 2015.

The site had been in this state for about 30 years before our client bought it.

The completed new building

The kitchen was made up of re-claimed old dressers and cupboards that were chopped up and moved around to create something new.
We put a huge amount of effort into creating the opportunity for locals to buy some of the most expensive wild boar salami and olives in South London

This looks like a concept design sketch - but was almost certainly drawn well after the building was completed - standard architectural practice...

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