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Paul McAneary Architects' Office

Architect's own studio designed and built by themselves over 4 years. Containing numerous innovative experimental and bespoke details designed using their trademark 'warm minimalism'. Mini architectural exhibition.

Architect

Paul McAneary Architects

Date

2015

6 Flitcroft Street WC2H 8DJ

Sat/Sun 11am-6pm. Last entry 5.30pm.

Tottenham Court Road

24, 29, 134, 176, 242

  • Architect on site
  • Green features
  • Partial disabled
  • Toilets available

PAUL MCANEARY ARCHITECTS’ OFFICE This project is the result of recession economics – as young architects, survival required creative thinking beyond the drawing board – applying business to architecture – by looking at every angle, this project was conceived. PMA had outgrown its first office but were forced out due to the landlord raising the rent by 50 per cent. Paul negotiated a substantial rent free period with a new landlord in lieu of substantial transformation of his dilapidated listed warehouse building. Economically, traditional procurement would not have been feasible for PMA. The creative solution, from both design and economic perspectives was for this young architects practice to setup a design and build company – which has since went on to build 2 further small projects. On top of this the procurement of construction materials was a further economic issue. As architects we wanted the highest spec for our office but were economically challenged. Recycling was employed on a massive scale. Off cuts of reconstituted stone became the kitchen and bathroom tops. The 3.2m high glass facade of the office was even recycled from another project – making the project feasible. It has to be said that over the 2 years we have spent slowly building the office – we have probably learned more from our experiments than through any previous education by experimental building our own office. Two days after the completion of our new basement we suffered a massive flood from the building above us. The office was 200mm deep in water – we lost much research – but this was actually an opportunity for us to redesign some of the destroyed built details that we had thought of better solutions since completion – the greatest test of all. Indeed the experiments have become very important to us as a practice and they continue – as we have built, what we call our _laboratory_ – a workshop in our new basement where we constantly run tests, make mockups and explore detail before construction as well as make architectural models. A sky light has been introduced into the ground floor ceiling to the rear of the office, bringing light to the full extent of the plan. It is placed above a design room, directly above a glass box down into the basement level laboratory. This connects all the levels of the project, and providing a second shaft for architectural models to be dramatically raised through. To make the basement level functional, it was imperative to increase the height of the room and bring natural light. PMA used a special fibre reinforced concrete floor, that could be cast as a tiny 70mm thick slab – that avoided underpinning costs. The open space is designed for exhibitions and presentations, with clean light walls and completely adaptable lightng – 4 light wells and a structural glass and structural metal mesh floor will bring the maximum amount of natural light possible down, whilst connecting the two areas of the office. The ground floor facade has been developed following secure by design consultations with the Police as the passageway outside the office suffered drug dealing, prostitution, and urination due to its location on a dark back alley in London_s West End. The facade is made from solid oak beams that respect its neighbours, finished entirely flush, removing many nooks that facilitated crime and the glass being full height, gives a sense of overlooking that has reduced crime level significantly. The light natural coloured facade that has oak and unpainted render has not suffered typical graffiti (it would appear graffiti artists respect the integrity of natural elements). The results of the facade, that has been installed for a few months now, is that it has changed the atmosphere of this medieval narrow pedestrian passage way and countless passers have made the effort to come and tell us of their delight and how they feel safer whilst applauding the design. Paul loves to tell the story of the locally sourced, sustainably farmed Oak and how he went to pick the Oak (that had to be felled due to its proximity to another) and how he drove the lorry of lumber back personally to the office where it was worked on and refined for this warm and natural contemporary installation that we hope remains for years to come. Since 2006 Paul McAneary Architects has been developing as a practice, with experience of 200 commissioned projects, over 100 of them now built, their approach has progressed to a now recognisable design philosophy that a broad spectrum of clients are eager to embrace. This new warmer minimalism responds to txhe environmental issues that are at the forefront of all leading-edge quality design, by using natural, carbon neutral materials in new contemporary ways to leave a lasting, evolving legacy for future generations. Constant research and development drives the work in their young studio, facilitated by their in-house workshop and established working relationships with quality trades including stonemasons and glaziers. A frameless glass to brick detail was developed for a recent project, and a new material type of cast timber bronze was created working closely with a foundry. Built projects vary in size and scale and include the 6 storey œ12m restoration of a townhouse in South Kensington that included numerous bespoke pioneering details, the award winning tex- tonic lofts in Victoria, a burnt cedar clad tortoise enclosure and a restored and elegantly detailed art gallery in Mayfair. In addition PMA have created their own font, with the least number of strokes to embody the simplicity of minimalism, and true to their philosophy have detailed many forms of furniture and fittings used in a variety of projects. Their more recent new build projects, currently in design, include an apartment block in Notting Hill, 2 town houses and a beach house on the south coast of England, continue to explore their design philosophy. They have amassed a broad range of successful projects that consistently promote natural materials in a contemporary way, sustainability and detail design leading and forming the basis for a warmer minimalism relevant for architecture today.