Common Ground Workshop completes retrofit of 1980s Spitalfields home

CGW took over the task after initial planning and partial construction work of the new superstructure by Studio Idealyc, which included new concrete walls, staircases and floors in the living spaces, roof deck and pocket porch.

The ground floor and lower level consist of large open plan family living and dining spaces with direct visual connection to the front and rear ‘Zen’ garden, while the upper floors offer three large en-suite bedrooms with solid wood joinery and outdoor balconies.

The design uses a slab made of textured but minimal materials, including fine-grained concrete, timber, rough stucco, zinc, lime gravel, and black metallic pavers and liners.

Extensive built-in storage features on all levels, composed of sustainably sourced wood in a variety of flat panels and hinged trims.

All furniture was selected as part of the project, including a large family dining table and 4m sofa in the basement that are designed to be moved and reconfigured to suit a multitude of uses, or can be removed to allow for family events.

Architect’s opinion

Inherent in the project brief was the client’s vision of achieving interlocking spatial narratives that could simultaneously promote relaxation and comfort, a space for respect and prayer, along with a minimal clutter-free living, and the inherent resilience to future changes in use and growth pattern of the family.

Light and access to the outdoor space are fundamental principles of the building’s design philosophy on all levels, and the ground and basement levels intertwine with a relaxing back garden and series of pocket terraces to create a visual connection and harness an abundance of natural light.

The upper floors are intimate and cozy and consist of three large en-suite bedrooms with extensive solid wood joinery and outside balcony features. As with the lower levels, all upper levels are double sided and uniquely light permeated. The second floor playfully consists of an innovative hidden pocket balcony with a secret hatch door operating on hinges, creating a visual connection to the relaxing back garden and a surprising timber-lined resting space for quiet relaxation and rest.

Storage and built-in appliances are also essential for achieving a minimal lifestyle space that can remain minimal in practice despite the daily demands of family life.

Spacious built-in storage units (and appliances located at ground and basement level) feature on all levels of the building and consist of sustainably sourced wood in a variety of flat panels and hinged trims.
Jack Bannell, Director of the Common Ground Workshop

Customer’s point of view

We absolutely love the space created for us – comfortable, modern, spacious and full of light. We can also appreciate the meticulous attention to detail such as color schemes, ceiling designs, floors, interior design, garden landscaping, lighting etc. It is involved in cost analysis of all design elements and products.

project’s data

Get started on the site February 2021
completion May 2022
Total indoor floor area 169 AD2
Total space (interior + exterior) 210 m2
contract form Traditional: JCT Minor Works CD
construction cost unannounced
Architect Common Ground Workshop (Initial Planning and On-Site Work to Phase 1 by Studio Idealyc)
client Special
Structural Engineer simple business
chief designer CGW in stages 0-4; Toga contractors in the fifth phase
Certified Building Inspector ABC Building Control
main contractor Tuga Contractors (Phase 2 works and main contractor); Studio Idealyc (Phase 1 works)
CAD software used MicroStation SketchUp

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