Burwell Deakins Architects has completed the conversion and extension of a Grade II-listed Regency town house in south London. Located within the King Edward III’s Rotherhithe Conservation Area and the curtilage of the Scheduled Monument of King Edward III’s Manor House, 23 Paradise Street was built in 1814 and is one of the few structures within the neighbourhood to have survived the Second World War. Originally built as a private house for Sir William Gaitskell, the building was then used as a police station for over a century before conversion into offices in the 1960s.
Burwell Deakins Architects has restored it to residential use, creating seven apartments including two duplex apartments at the lower levels. It has also added a two-storey, three-bedroom house within the original back garden, and a four-storey, three-bedroom house abutting the northern gable of the original property, where terraced housing was once located.
The proportions of the new buildings are intended to complement those of the existing. The two storey house is expressed as a horizontal element sitting above its brick base and the existing boundary wall. The four-storey house has a vertical emphasis creating a bookend to the existing building on the Cathay Street elevation. Its roofline steps down to create a subservient relationship towards the existing house.
The new facades of the West Wing are in a combination of dark brickwork and vivid yellow aluminium “to create a framing system to provide an underlying order to the composition”, says the architect. The dark brick was chosen to “allow continuity of texture and material within the context of a confident, contemporary composition”.
The material palette and detailing were agreed with the design and conservation officer by way of the construction of 1:1 mock-ups of critical building details. The black bricks were manufactured using the traditional soft-mud process that produces a non-uniform texture and the appearance of handmade or antique brick. “This was desirable to allow continuity of texture between the old and new buildings and provides a textural contrast against the smooth surfaces of aluminium and glass”, says Chris Gilbert, associate at Burwell Deakins Architects. “The bold yellow colour was selected to clearly articulate and pick out the confident, contemporary composition against the context of the dark brickwork and the existing building”.
Original interior partitions and features were removed during the 1970s but Burwell Deakins has re-introduced the historic room hierarchies and discretely integrated modern services into the new fabric. A new external staircase provides access to the apartments located within the police station annex.