Hasa Architects breathes new life into Georgian residence in London
Handling the relationship between old and new can be a tricky task in architecture and achieving the right balance between the two is an often elusive goal; yet the masterful approach Hasa Architects took in its latest residential project, an apartment interior in a listed terrace in London’s Mayfair, ticks all the right boxes.
When Hasa directors, Mark Stevens and Charlotte Harris, were called upon to refresh a space within a Grade II-listed Georgian building in one of London’s most affluent districts, they knew they had a real challenge on their hands. ‘It can often be difficult working with old structures, especially listed buildings’, says Stevens. ‘Understanding the history and context is fundamental. We always look to retain and repair the original fabric and our approach to any alteration is limited, with subtle changes that can be reversed’.
The relatively new studio was pleased to secure the commission, having pitched against several other practices. ‘The property was tired and in a state of disrepair,’ explains Stevens, ‘so we knew that any intervention would make a significant transformation. We were particular interested in the generous floor-to-ceiling height on the principal floor and by the level of the natural daylight. We wanted to remove the intrusive alterations that had been introduced and to return these rooms back to their original proportions’.
The project, commissioned by owner Sundip Vyas, who also acted as the developer, revolved around the transformation of a first floor flat into an elegant, modern private home. Keen to work with the existing character of the architecture, the team worked hard at removing years’ worth of paint and restoring original details and decor, such as mouldings and the dentilled cornice.
Now, a restrained design enriches the space by working with the historical elements, rather than trying to upstage them. Refreshed original features sit side by side harmoniously with contemporary, minimalist cabinetry and marble and metal work. ‘It was important that the programme of inhabitation not dominate the architectural space’, explain Hasa. ‘This is successfully achieved through the use of minimal interventions in the form of freestanding joinery, panelling, and sliding and folding planes.‘
By inserting a mezzanine floor and a sharply designed staircase, the architects capitalised on space by placing the master bedroom, which is lined in solid American oil-finished white oak, upstairs. Directly below is the kitchen and dining area (featuring an Arabescato marble island), leading through to a generous entry hall and the majestic, high ceilinged living room beyond. Off the bedroom on the mezzanine is a walk-in wardrobe and en suite bathroom. The staircase also connects to a second, smaller bedroom at the rear of the property.
The new elements can be read clearly as such, while an overall pared-down approach and neutral colour palette underline Hasa Architects’ delicate touch. The apartment is currently on the market. §