Few of London’s new apartment blocks are as thoughtfully created as
81–87 Weston Street in Southwark. A collaboration between developer Solidspace – led by Roger Zogolovitch – and Simon Allford of architects AHMM, it was ten years in the planning and is a fine example of the benefits of ‘slow design’. ‘It takes time, and a lot of convincing people to build with imagination and character,’ says Roger, wryly. The end result is, he explains, ‘a combination of new Brutalism and the style of old Milanese apartment buildings.’ Local influences were also key. ‘The pale brickwork references London’s historical architecture,’ says Simon. So too does the old warehouse wall at the rear of the site, which was integrated into the new building. Thanks to its irregular shape, the block also blends in well with the area’s newer arrivals, such as The Shard, which looks down upon Weston Street.
A large proportion of the building is British-designed and made, including the concrete framework and interior timber cladding. Even the apartment’s layout – a double-height living space with cooking, dining and working areas on staggered levels around it – complements native tastes. ‘The British prefer houses to flats, and our multi-level design is a kind of house in the sky,’ says Roger. ‘The decision to place bedrooms on the lower floors is, perhaps, more European, but it means that the living room gets the best light and connects to the roof terraces,’ reasons Simon.
Customisation was a priority for the interiors. Buyers were offered a choice of oak or walnut panelling and floors (selected to complement the board-cast concrete structure) and marble or tiles in the bathrooms. Storage was planned around adaptable Ikea cabinets, and there is even the option of renting out a bedroom thanks to an entry system that renders them self-contained units.
Roger and Simon imagine Weston Street as a revival of the traditional London mansion block, with a vibrant mix of public and private spaces, and a real sense of community. It’s a testament to this ambitious design that one of the new owners is a Stirling Prize-winning architect. solidspace.co.uk; ahmm.co.uk
Kitchen The white cupboard units are by German brand Pronorm, supplied by Concept Kitchens, and the appliances are by Siemens and Bosch. For similar parquet flooring, try Ecora. The ceiling lighting track is by Concorde Dining room Zeitraum’s ‘Twist’ table by Formstelle is surrounded by ‘CH24’ chairs by Hans J Wegner for Carl Hansen & Søn Stockist details on p269 ➤