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An interplay of structural elements and decorative detailing are hallmarks of an integrated design strategy in this state-of-the-art apartment conversion

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Logic and science may seem counter-intuitive to the golden rules of decorating. But to achieve a transformational interior renovation, analysing fundamental issues, such as spatial and structural problems, is crucial to the creation of functional areas in tune with living routine.

For architect Eva Jiricna, eliminating these core design decisions makes subsequent layers of decoration, such as choices of colour, flooring and accessories, inconsequential.

"I am a person fuelled by logic and the laws of science, and the processes are applicable to architecture," she says. "Every element in my design must therefore have a function. Not a single component can be purely decorative."

Prior to the renovation, Jiricna found the warehouse featured here in a desolate state, with little light penetrating the interior. It was built too late for any authentic design elements to be retained.

Jiricna essentially wiped the slate clean, then embarked on what she calls an integrated design strategy, creating a pied-à-terre for her client that is simple, precisely detailed and uncompromisingly modern.

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The interior of theapartment features a two-storey circulation space centred around a state-of-the-art glass and steel staircase.

The living and entertainment zones are located upstairs, with all private areas at ground level.

To enhance the effectiveness of these spaces, reflective glass walls were designed to create an illusion of space running indefinitely into the distance.

Hallmarks of Jiricna's architectural oeuvre – lightness, transparency and truth to materials – are evident in this renovation, including a sculptural staircase made of glass treads and steel cabling

"The staircase is dramatic – delicately fashioned but sturdily engineered. The cabling has a structural role, and glass is used to both optimise transparency and channel light to other spaces," she says. "Each on their own is functional – together they create form."

With only one window situated downstairs, Jiricna put up vertical screens to transfer light down and throughout the lower level. All windows at the upper level have diffused aerofoil screens to enhance internal lighting conditions, and transparency is optimised with a glass extension bridge, which connects the entertainment wing with the conservatory at the upper level.

"I wanted to minimise the structure, so the bridge creates a simple connection." Jiricna says. "Together, the bridge and staircase possess sculptural qualities that add to the fluidity of the internal spaces."

First published date: 20 July 2006

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Credit List

Architect Eva Jiricna, Eva Jiricna Architects (London)
Main contractor Pat Carter Contracts
Metalwork Clifford Chapman Metalwork
Glass Peterlee Glass