work                studio                 info

Gruz Flat, Stepney Green

Undertaken by Brisco Loran on behalf of language teacher Emilia Gruz and the composer Alex Gruz, the young couple sought assistance in enlarging their one-bedroom ground floor flat to form a combined kitchen, dining, and living space, alongside a new bathroom and isolated recording studio. 

Located in Stepney Green’s Carlton Square Conservation Area, Argyle Road was developed in the 1850s to hold two-storey suburban homes for East London’s working classes. The houses are compact but handsome with white-trimmed paired doorways and first-floor windows set within aedicules that spring from a white-painted projecting band. It is from an appreciation of this architectural language that the composition of the new garden façade has emerged.

The realised plan locates service spaces along the northern party wall and broader living spaces along the southern. In doing so, the scheme accentuates the home’s Victorian arrangement and extends this characteristic into the reworked rear façade. The living space meets the garden with a large square doorway where the centred frame remembers the position of the outrigger’s original footprint. The long strip of service spaces is marked on the elevation by a smaller square opening centred on the first-floor window overhead. The composition appropriates the language of the street-facing elevation by alternately projecting and recessing its features. Bands have been inserted across the elevation to which the first-floor window, ground floor openings, and patio light are tethered.

With a grip on budget that would yield a contract sum of just £42,000 incl VAT, the principal building works were designed to utilise only low-cost, low-maintenance solutions. The garden elevation is constructed in solid masonry with external insulation, and a raked rendered finish, developed with the builder on site. Windows are framed in aluminium with bespoke trims, whilst precast copings were chopped up to form bandings.