The use of glass in modern residential refurbishment is now more prevalent than stock bricks were in the construction of Victorian terraces. Without sky lights, sliding glass doors and huge scaled windows the majority of projects would struggle to encourage the light and open space seemingly craved from all modern developments. Glass house, the latest project from award winning practice Paul McAneary Architects, sees this 21st century reliance on glass taken to the ultimate extreme, with fantastic results.
Situated in Shad-Thames, amongst the old warehouses and granaries of the industrial revolution, a converted mill house, the property offers a large loft space usually unattainable in Central London. The client, Sean Ramsden, is the CEO of Ramsden International, a speciality wholesale exporter of British and Italian groceries and two times winner of the Queens Award for International Trade. Sean wanted a space for entertaining, for showcasing pieces of art, but also wanted to create privacy and intimacy within his ballroom-esque loft.
Paul designed an dramatic, sophisticated scheme that worked with the existing elements of the space but incorporated interventions in many different forms of glass to emphasise, amplify and adapt this fantastic old mill house into a monochrome wonder, perfected for Sean’s needs.
Sean, who read history of art at Cambridge, wanted the space to showcase his collection of contemporary art, including pieces from Damien Hirst to Harland Millar; a concept that is apparent in the minimal design aesthetic.
Smart Glass is an exciting new product to be used in the residential market. It is an opaque glass that, at the flick of a switch, and somewhat magically, becomes clear. A perfect product for this project, Paul McAneary Architects used the largest sheets of the glass made, to create visual connections between spaces separated by an atrium. Looking through the atrium it is possible to see views from living room to kitchen and dining room to living room, however if a more intimate private setting is needed, the glass can be switched off to achieve the opaque finish.
The original ensuite bathroom was open to the master bedroom- a rather unusual feature. Paul decided to keep the existing layout but include a smart glass intervention to create privacy. To the relief of most people smart glass goes clear when switched on, the bathroom is still kept private during a powercut!
Sean, the client, like most people enjoys relaxing in front of a good film, but did not want a television to take over any rooms of his apartment. Mirona Glass acts as a mirror if not back lit. It has been used to disguise televisions in the project in two different ways.
In the living room Paul designed a Mirona glass mirror, a heavy set, clean edged, minimal ‘PMA frame’ in painted timber to match the monolith black floor. When the TV is switched on, the picture appears like any other TV, but when off, the Mirona Glass acts as a mirror, accentuating the feeling of space in the centre of the living room completely.
In the master bedroom a bronzed mirrored wall concealing the TV helps adds warmth and increase the spacial qualities of the room. In the centre a TV is fitted, only visible when switched on, the rest of the Mirona is back painted. The smokey, dark effect of the bronzing helps to lessen the stark qualities of a normal mirror, achieving a softer feeling for a bedroom.
Acid Etched Glass
A huge acid etched glass screen brings natural light through to the bedroom. The smooth silky finish of the acid etching, gives the glass a luxurious visual quality.
Glass brick slot
Two 3 meter high glass brick slots bring natural light into the bedroom and living space, providing a measured amount of light, for ever changing shadows and lighting.
The main doors into the loft are framed by a lambrequin, it creates an imposing entrance, for a contemporary twist to this historic reference upon arrival.