Croft Structural Engineers’ expertise in residential refurbishment and basements within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, proved invaluable on this ambitious remodelling of a five-storey Victorian townhouse in Chelsea. They worked closely with the Architect Stephen Fletcher, to achieve the client’s brief of a high-spec family home to serve as a ‘private Tate Modern’.
To project the grandeur of the house, a stunning double height gallery was constructed to the rear. The main drawing room forms a vast atrium space that soars two-stories high, with stunning 18-foot-tall windows creating a voluminous and bright space looking out to the garden area. Forming such spaces is tricky in structural terms; the Victorian walls were not designed to span 7m without lateral restraint from the floors.
The basement excavation included the entire footprint of the house, vaults and most of the rear garden. Croft Structural Engineers provided the ground works and superstructure temporary works. Their expertise in temporary works design meant that Croft were well placed to deliver the brief; of devising a method of propping the original façade and roof including lateral stability of neighbouring properties whilst placing a new basement below.
The stair case was formed as a saw tooth concrete stair; the zig-zag of the stair profile is seen below the stairs and above. The stair spiralled around the central core providing views to the double height space. In the basement a fish tank was positioned below the stairs. The architect called for the stair finish to be polished concrete. To produce a floating feel, the stairs did not touch the walls. These three factors combined meant that the detailing of the stairs and its construction became a complex item. The stairs could not be polished in situ and had to be carried in, there were one some locations for lifting beams, supports had to be hidden. Croft worked closely with the contractor architect, and specialist stair manufacturer to provide a workable solution.
This project was a couple of years in the making but the transformation to a Tate Modern-style luxurious family home is truly amazing. The Chelsea property rightly attracted significant press attention, including a substantial feature in the Telegraph and it was also featured in the 2016 RIBA London Housing Magazine.
Croft’s work on this project is representative of the high standards you can expect from ASUC members.
To read more about the project, click here.