Arch architecture defines London house redesign by Flower Michelin
Arch House by Flower Michelin is a senstiive, graceful blend of high-tech music-studio technology with domestic space, elevated by the clever use of arch architecture
Arch architecture helped define the new design for the transformation of a typical London terraced house in the Wandsworth Conservation Area by architecture studio Flower Michelin. The practice, headed by Alex Flower and Chantal Michelin, took on the commission, which called for a complete remodel of a family home, including an interior redesign and extension (both to the rear, and below ground). The client, a music composer and their young family, were after extra space but also specialised interiors to cater for their professional needs – such as the ‘construction of a music studio for composing and recording in a new basement.’
The four-storey townhouse had to therefore balance both daily domestic family life, and a high-performance music studio, which means particular acoustic needs, insulation and technology specs. And while the best layout and functionality were determined largely by practical requirements, the architecture team still infused the scheme with creativity and aesthetic sophistication – working with soft colours, tasteful patterns, and the design’s defining red brick arches.
‘Each brick was hand cut and finished and bonded to a steel frame to form each stepped layer of the arch over curved glazing, to create an illusion of floating heaviness,’ say the architects. ‘These were then set within brickwork; a vertical bond to the side extension delineating the extension from the original footprint.’ The rear elevation and its distinctive arches were made using the same red brick found on the front façade, with the aim of highlighting the importance of this new part of the building, the team notes.
Inside, plaster work in the ground floor hallway creates a sense of grandeur upon arrival, while further inside, pastel tones create a sequence of gentle, cocooning living spaces across the ground floor. Bedrooms and a study are upstairs, while the lower ground level is reserved for musical endeavours. The last presented a particular challenge. ‘It needed to be a distraction-free space for composing, acoustically designed for musical collaborations, operate as a listening booth for the film scores at +100dB, but still not feel like a “box in a box in a basement”,’ the Flower Michelin team say.
The answer, they reveal, was to design it as a room within a room, ‘balanced on giant springs and lined with a bespoke puzzle of acoustic panelling’. This, matched with the rest of the home’s elegant colour and material palette, bespoke joinery, expert arch architecture and seamless aesthetic, makes for a family home that serves more than one purpose with ease – a perfect result to a complex architectural brief. §