London-based British practice Jonathan Tuckey Design (JTD) have created a series of residential interiors for the 'Gasholder Triplets' in London's formerly industrial King's Cross district. 145 individual apartments have been designed inside these mid-nineteenth century structures, within which Wilkinson Eyre Architects have created the "architectural insertions" (the buildings themselves).
To present our work we have produced hand-drawn sketches and working models made by the design team at our studio. There is nothing that smacks of the commercial and slick presentation that is usually associated with developer projects. Argent have warmed to this perhaps more traditional approach to showing and reviewing the design process on their building. So much so that prospective buyers are coming to our studio to see the sketches and models and get a feel for how these future homes are taking shape. The experience has also made us think hard on the role that presentation materials play in the profession. Architects have become too corporate in the way they show their work perhaps in a misguided effort to appeal to clients.
The apartments respond to "the fusion of Victorian iron frames and a new layer of high-tech modernism." The designers felt that their role "was to generate plans that felt like a continuation of the intricate geometry shaped by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, creating spaces that adhered to the radii and arcs that they had established." The floor plans of the apartments expand from the dramatic interior atria, at the centres of the gasholders, outwards to the external façades creating very particular wedge-shaped forms.
The combination of floor-to-ceiling glazed windows and semi-reflective poured resin floors adds significantly to the sense of height within the apartments. The poured floors also help to calm the wedge-shaped floor plans, avoiding awkward collisions between the interiors and the building's distinct geometry. We have used stained oak timber panels to delineate the thresholds between the living spaces and the bedroom areas.
Within the open-plan living areas we developed a kitchen design that plays on the mechanical character of the building; we selected a type of through-coloured engineered board for the units and applied varying finishes of brushed stainless steel and brass. We used mirrored panels and flush, flat-panel light fittings in the ceilings to exaggerate the sculptural form of the kitchens.
For a warmer feel inside the master bedrooms, we lined these spaces with full height felt wall panels. These are edged with brass, connecting them with the mechanized perforated metal shutters that shade each apartment which also feature brass details, revealed as they open and close, controlled from within by the resident.
The bathrooms by contrast are lined in bespoke concrete tiles and panels and feature matching concrete washbasins. The solidity of these interiors is complimented by details similar to those found in the kitchens with their use of flush light panels, mirror and brass accents; these elements interact visually to increase the sense of scale in these rooms.
According to the designers, much of inspiration for the spaces' material palette come from "the many precedents we reviewed with developer Argent when working on the design concepts." These include: Teatro Regio di Torino by Carlo Mollino ; Casa Torre, via Toselli, Pisa [1250/1980] by Arturo Carmassi; the Cement factory, St Just Desvern, by Ricardo Bofill [1900/1970s]; and the Hydro-electric Power station at Yoloten, Turkmenistan .
LocationKings Cross, London N1, United Kingdom
Architect in ChargeJonathan Tuckey
Design TeamPeter Youthed, Matthew Farrer, Catarina Cristovinho, Belen Salgado, Glen Tomlin, Katrin Sölter
AssistantsIoannis Devaris, Laurence Hiller, Rohullah Kazemi, Ben Stewart-Smith, Helen Galletti, Aneta Szymczyk-Michalski
The project is slated for completion in 2017.