This is an ambitious and complex building achieved on and maximising an unprepossessing urban site. It is a clever development by an architect-client couple for a mix of uses including their home and office. It is on five floors over a basement and completely fills its corner site. The mix includes four dwellings: the house over three floors, three small flats, the architects’ own studio on the first floor and an Art Gallery on the ground floor and basement. In section the scheme skilfully adjusts the floor heights, creating taller spaces for the gallery, the studio and the principal living space.
Organisationally a complex brief has been dealt with to provide a clear and simple set of complimentary uses, each of which works well on its own and as a whole.
The top floor apartment is accessed via a dual entry lift, which connects directly into the living space as well as by a castle-like spiral stair. The studio and Gallery and the other two flats have separate stairs and entrances from the street, but are connected by the same lift.
The building is an impressive achievement and has taken ten years to realise. The architects have found a way of developing a tight, difficult site in a way that is both spatially and aesthetically rich. It is a relevant piece of city-making that is ordinary in its programme yet is executed with extraordinary care and judgement. Bateman’s Mews is adaptable to reuse over time as needs change: not just the separation of the young people’s (2nd) floor as a separate flat with its own entrance door but one could imagine the first floor office being converted into a flat or the ground floor and basement into retail or office accommodation. This is the kind of building London – and a depressed market – need a lot more of.