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September 25, 2013
Top 10 Prime Central London Residential Architects
As the majority of prime central London’s low rise landscape lies within conservation areas, London architects operating in prestigious neighbourhoods face the challenge of navigating the planning maze whilst delivering cutting edge designs and living spaces. This globally competitive city has produced some of the world’s fines practices. We list our top ten favourite prime central London residential architecture firms in London defined by the projects they have completed in the city.
1. Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
This well-known architectural firm needs no introduction and was established in 2007, previoulsy known as Richard Rogers Partnership and currently has 176 employees and 10 partners. The practise has offices worldwide, with their principal office situated in Hammersmith, London. The firm have brought their visions to life on a global scale and are heavily involved in the urban regeneration field. They very much believe in compact, polycentric cities and hold disdain for derelict empty quarters that encourage urban sprawl.
They were the formidable team behind the massive One Hyde Park Project in Knightsbridge, a major residential and retail complex encompassing 86 apartments and duplexes. The facility was comprised of an incredible 385,000 sq ft and hit headlines with the sale of a ‘record-breaking’ £140 million (£7000psf ) penthouse at the site. The firm also designed Neo Bankside, which offers breathtaking views of the North Bank and St Pauls Cathedral from the Southwark side of the river of Thames.
One Hyde Park
2. Foster & Partners
This London based architectural firm ignited the imaginations of the masses by working with the European Space Agency in early 2013, designing a 4 person home on the moon. The firm has been around since 1967 with offices worldwide overseeing 1000 employees and are noted for their high profile glass and steel buildings.
Once such building is the Albion Riverside building based on the South Bank of the Thames between Battersea and Albert bridges and holds 183 apartments. At eight stories high, the mixed use development was completed in 2003 with principally glass facades, creating elevations that vary in appearance and sparkle at different viewpoints.
The firm, better known for commercial projects, has principally made the list however due to their work with interior design and development management firm Candy and Candy on 21 Chesham Place in Belgravia. Previously a redundant telephone exchange, the firm were appointed by developers CPC Group to develop six exquisite lateral apartments with underground parking. The result saw an exquisite residence, full of character yet maintaining design connections and influences with surrounding Belgravia.
3. Squire and Partners
This architectural practice is renowned for designing and delivering high quality buildings in prime central London locations. Operating nationally and internationally for over 35 years, the firm pride themselves on relating a building to its site’s unique personality and history, whilst retaining a contemporary edge to its designs.
The firm has been particularly active in prime locations in recent years and noteworthy projects include Ebury Square in Belgravia, a prestigious residential development providing 71 luxury residences, The Bulgari Hotel and Residences where a penthouse is reported to have achieved £7000psf and More recently Mayfair House in Mayfair,which is a distinctive private home with new build elements.
4.Paul Davis + Partners
Founded in 1994, this firm has a vast portfolio of residential properties in London, the rest of the UK and more recently in parts of Asia as well as a staff of over 100 led by 11 partners. It has been consistently renowned as the one of the fastest growing architectural practises in the city and is a firm to watch.
The firm have been retained by property magnates David and Simon Reuben to transform the Cambridge – known as the ‘In and Out Club’ into a sumptuous 48 room palatial ‘supermansion’, with estimates that it could achieve a £214 million (£4000psf) price tag upon completion.
In & Out Club
The firm’s additional residential projects within London include being shortlisted for the design of the Chelsea Barracks and also The Lansbury, a boutique new build development led by Finchatton on Basil Street opposite Harrods.
5.Eric Parry Architects
This firm was established in London in 1983 and has a staff of 53 providing architecture, design and consultancy services. It has created private homes in St Johns Wood and Knightsbridge as well as being part of the refurbishment of the opulent Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge and designing the prominent Royal Lancaster Hotel on the north side of London’s Hyde Park. The firm also recently completed a residential project at 15/20 Jermyn Street known as Eagle Place.
6. SHH Architects
This 21 year old firm based in Hammersmith have been appointed for their services on multiple occasions on an international scale. It boasts an international workforce of over fifty staff, led by six Associates. The firm specialises in new-build and refurbishment architecture; interior architecture and interior design. As well as designing commercial properties, they provide interior and exterior services for luxury residential developments including multiple or one-off residences for developers in the high-end residential market.
The firm were retained to design Highgate House in Highgate and were briefed to create a completely new building whilst only retaining the building’s existing façade. This was mainly to allow for more lateral living for the client’s family. A new and contemporary extension was also created at the rear, linked to the main house by a glass box.
They also famously recently won permission to convert a 1960s office in Mayfair’s Park Place into a black-fronted home inspired by 10 Downing Street. The distinctive seven-storey scheme in the St James’s Conservation Area, features a double-storey oriel bay window and has been designed as ‘a 21st-century interpretation of a traditional Mayfair home’.
Mayfair Park Place
7. David Chipperfield Architects
David Chipperfield established his own architecture practise in 1984 which grew over the years to a worldwide firm with offices in London, Berlin, Milan and Shanghai and over 250 staff from 15 countries.
Although renowned for its considerable expertise with museum buildings, the firm is also an expert in creating majestic residential properties. Flat 3 within 8 Kensington Palace Gardens, London’s infamously named ‘billionaire’s row’ was designed by David Chipperfield and was sold in March 2007 for £10.29m.
Kensington Palace Gardens
The firm also designed and brought to life 7-10 Cottage Place in Kensington, replacing a listed building with a stylishly retro, large private home holding three floors including numerous bed and staff rooms, bronze doors and an idyllic swimming pool. More recently and on a grander scale, the practise won permission to redevelop the £101million SW1 tower Portland House in Victoria for residential use, as part of Land Securities led major regentrification of the area.
8 – Tony Fretton Architects
The Highgate based firm has been running since 1982 and is known for its public galleries as well as private residences. The 18-employee strong practise, prides itself on balancing modern with age old designs adopting tasteful and minimalistic approaches.
The firm built its name designing homes for world famous sculptor Anish Kapoor and the ever prosperous Sainsbury family. For the former, Fretton designed a moderately sized living space living space, made large with its vast openness to natural light and made spectacular in its simplicity. For the latter, Fretton create the Palatial ‘Red House’ for Alex Sainsbury. The property looks out onto Wren’s Royal Hospital at the rear. The house is a new construction made of reinforced concrete and clad and serves as a home space but also to display Sainsbury’s significant collection of contemporary art.
The Red House
9 – 6a Architects
The firm have 6 employees and were recently founded in 2001 by Tom Emerson and Stephanie Macdonald. It has gained a reputation for designing contemporary art galleries, educational and residential projects in sensitive historic environments.
6a’s most eminent residential redevelopment is their current transformation of a 1670s Chelsea mansion for Russian business tycoon Roman Abramovich. The historic property overlooks the River Thames and Abramovich visualises a “beautiful and meaningful contemporary home” on Cheyne Walk in its stead. Work is also underway to transform its front garden to resemble one of the paintings of James Whistler (artist and former resident) of the Thames embankment at night. This is another innovative firm to watch in the future.
Cheyne Walk Residence
10 – Stanton Williams
Stanton Williams were established in 1985 and have a team of over 50 people. The firm takes inspiration from light and sculpture, evidenced in the current Fitzroy Park development where they have created a proposal for a new sustainable family home replacing the existent 1950s family house. With four spacious bedrooms floating amongst the treetops like a treehouse, the property in the Highgate Conservation Area, is conceived as a refreshing, wholesome living space.
They are also currently working on the Riverwalk, a unique residential development led by Gerald Ronson on the River Thames. The Riverwalk proposes a collection of highly specified one, two, three and four bedroom apartments and penthouses, focusing on light, space and service, as well as extraordinary Thames views.