A 19C building forming part of a small parade of shops, refurbished to an extremely high standard. The front of the building has been restored to replicate the original Victorian facade.
(max visitors 10)
Architectural practice, Offices
16 Forest Hill Road was an abandoned shop which had been squatted in, boarded up and in a state of disrepair. It was a dental surgery for a few years, but was too small, damp and in too poor a state for the dentist to carry on. The property remained empty for four years, albeit squatted and in a dangerous state.
It had a once been a thriving local bakery. Built in the 1880s, it had undergone many transformations and local residents remember it being open late at night to buy warm bread.
RDA Architects purchased this building to use as their studio. A new timber shop front, based on historic photographs, was installed. The inside of the building was stripped back and made watertight.
A major discovery was the original bakers’ oven at the rear. After an archaeological investigation, we exposed this space, underpinned it and created a small office. The original brick vaulted ceiling remains exposed. The rest of the building underwent a major transformation. Years of neglect meant that damp needed to be addressed and layers of plasterboard, studwork and erratic pipe work, which had decreased the internal area by almost a metre around the inside of the building, were stripped back. The basement area underneath the main shop was excavated allowing for a kitchen, WC, and shower room, encouraging staff to cycle in. Cycle storage is provided outside. At the rear, we formed a small courtyard.
The front of the shop has been designed to be flexible. Movable furniture allows the space to be used as a temporary gallery or yoga studio. Skylights were added to allow for a greater degree of light to be thrown into the basement. Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery systems were installed. The shop front is one of the few that is double glazed in the street providing a comfortable environment. The furniture is intentionally simple and functional and although designed on a budget, forms a stunning part of the office.