This residential development is located on a prominent site facing Kensington Gardens, and sits within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s De Vere Gardens Conservation Area. Encompassing almost an entire city block, the project comprises 97 high-quality residential units and includes the internal reorganisation of the site with new and old buildings stitched together to give a sense of continuity and diversity.
Broken down into six individual but connected buildings, the project is bounded by Kensington Road, Victoria Road, De Vere Gardens and Canning Passage. Three buildings include the re-use of surviving nineteenth-century terraced housing façades while the other three are new build. The historic façades are cleaned and restored while the new buildings follow the massing and heights of the neighbouring terraces although with a contemporary architectural language.
The most prominent of the new buildings faces Kensington Gardens and has a grand open loggia wrapping around its northern façade. This acts as both a civic gesture facing the park and creates generous outdoor spaces for residents. On either side of the loggia, the façades of the new building intensify in rhythm and architectural language as they approach the historic façades, fashioning a transition between the new and old.
All the new buildings have their own individual street entrance and the previously blocked entrance porticos in the retained façades have been reinstated. Internally, the apartments vary in size, differentiated primarily through their position within the development – 29 are within the new buildings and 68 are located behind the retained façades. Working within this framework, the apartment layouts have been generated from the existing arrangement of windows and party walls where relevant while all take the form of a sequence of clearly defined and interconnected rooms. In the centre of the block a series of courtyards connected by a continuous passage link the various buildings. While not publicly accessible, the courtyards provide the surrounding apartments with natural light, ventilation and a visual connection to an internal garden.
The new buildings on Kensington Road and Victoria Road have a post-tensioned, reinforced concrete structure. The Kensington Road building is clad in handset Portland stone at ground level and each floor above is defined by a thin band of Portland stone with solid bronze balustrades and windows. The exterior of the new building on Canning Passage is made of solid brick similar to the surrounding original brick stock and is articulated by strips of reconstituted stone at each floor level. These materials were chosen for their strong associations with London and sympathy with the neighbouring buildings.