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Mews House, Bethnal Green

The site is in a narrow mews directly behind Bethnal Green Road, currently occupied by a single storey garage block.   A daylight assessment for a previous planning consent had established a maximum development envelope with an eaves line consistent with an existing adjacent two storey house, with breaks to permit daylight into the windows of properties to the rear.   Only the front elevation onto the mews could be used for wall windows, the sides and rear being party walls.

To maximise the building size the lower ground floor is sunk one metre below street level, containing two bedrooms and bathrooms, with the main living spaces located on a raised ground floor piano nobile. The building fronts directly onto the street so this arrangement maintains privacy into the main floor from passing pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

 

 

A further floor is located above, within the sloping zinc clad roof, to be a master bedroom or a studio for a home worker. The main windows to this room are located to the side onto a roof terrace which also provides a break in the building line to permit daylight into windows to existing properties at the rear.

By sinking the building, the upper floor is less than 4.5 metres above street level and so building regulations do not require the stair to be enclosed. It is thus expressed as a sculptural element winding up the house, with the main living spaces open on it to minimise dedicated circulation space. Roof windows provide additional daylight at the head of the stair without compromising privacy with neighbours.

The building is designed as a steel framed construction to maximise window area on the frontage and permitting a more abstract facade treatment.