Rodić Davidson Architects

Pocket Living

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There are times when a project requires unconventional methodologies and out-of-the-box thinking at every stage of the process. Such an instance arose when we were called upon to transform four nineteenth-century townhouses on Kensington High Street into a collection of apartments. The carefully phased development required twenty-three ‘pocket studios’ be completed in advance of nine further apartments. This was a challenge, the tenants of the ground-floor retail units remaining in situ through the construction process. But it was only part of the story.

Given the complexity of the roofline, it was not possible for us to incorporate an additional floor using a mansard extension. Our preferred strategy needed readjusting to meet the requirements of the context without making aesthetic compromises. Thus, we proposed the partial reconstruction of the property behind its retained façades, a decision which ensured much improved internal organisation with no external manifestation to the high street.

To secure planning consent, the development necessitated a use-class swap with two buildings elsewhere in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. After extensive negotiations, we succeeded in convincing the committee that a development on the proposed scale should go ahead on the basis that Courtfield Gardens was the more desirable and therefore appropriate location for more substantial residences in the luxury real estate segment.

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