Tsuruta Architects

Marie’s wardrobe

- London - United Kingdom

An impressive large staircase in a turn of the 20th century house made the circulation generous, light and airy, but its dominance compromised the entire layout. The challenge was to replace this once favoured staircase whilst enhancing this previous spacious quality.

The perforated timber treads and risers, and balustrade of the new staircase let through light and air, but in a more compact overall configuration and an essence of the airines from the original staircase can still be experienced. Traces of engraved e-mail dialogues between the client and architect appear on the stair stringer and handrail suggesting that the contemporary time factor also supports the stair structure that serve future stories. Following the texts by eye, voices echo in one’s mind as if the sounds resonate in the air passing through the perforated structure.

We retained a stair landing sash window, and together with other original windows and new plywood framework created a screen wall for two new bathrooms and utility room. Light continues to flow into the stairwell via this screen wall and new external windows. Engravings of the e-mail dialogues on the framework support the presence of these original windows beyond structurally. By recomposing these old objects, we aim to keep the past tense in a new form, giving it new life rather than just conserving old.

A large, cantilevered balcony anchors the kitchen and dining to the back garden but registers as no more than an ordinary steel railing detail. The new intervention lifts the age of the masonry against gravity and rebalances itself in its own weight.

Revealing the notion of the material states and the engraved texts are the hope for association with the event and place beyond an expiry date.


Location: London

Project: Marie's wardrobe

Architects: Tsuruta Architects, http://www.tsurutaarchitects.com

Client: Private

Floor area: 214 sqm

Awards: RIBA London Regional Award 2017 winner

Photos: Tim Crocker

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