Q+A: Paul Wells talks about 1-9 Peel Place

Paul Wells talks about DMA designed 1-9 Peel Place, a development of nine family-sized townhouses in Earls Court, London.

What was the brief for this project?
Our client’s brief for this 0.17Ha brownfield site was to provide generous family housing with its own mews access and secure parking. We were also asked to incorporate improved service access for the adjacent hotel including its deliveries, storage, recycling and laundry facilities.

The London townhouse is such an established construct. Did your design for these properties differ from the traditional approach?
We wanted to rethink the model for an urban family home. The staggering and stacking of the amenity spaces on upper floors offers residents a variety of outdoor spaces relating to different rooms and addressing the site constraints of an urban plot. All thresholds are level allowing spaces to open on to external areas extending living space during warmer months. Contemporary elements were added through the use of extensive glazing to let natural light into open living spaces. Kitchen and living areas are central to the house both in physical location and feel. It was important to reflect current living styles and not replicate a basement kitchen aesthetic. The properties benefit from integral garages, underfloor heating, photovoltaic panels and a mechanical heat recovery ventilation system.

How do the materials support the distinctive design?
The palette consists of a range of high quality and elegant choices, which are durable, easy to maintain and will not weather or deteriorate within a reasonable building lifespan. The main façade materials consist of brickwork, stone rainscreen cladding and cement render. These are set against glass and timber which are utilised for amenity areas. The graphic appearance of each property is achieved through contrasting a dark, textured brick set with dark mortar against the lighter colours and slick texture of the stone cladding.

 What were the main challenges on this project?
In addition to working on a tight urban site, one of the main challenges was creating an acceptable design for the two townhouses that front on to Lillie Road. The road presents a varied street scene with buildings varying from a single storey up to 14 storeys with a mix of materials and architectural styles. We wanted to avoid a pastiche of neighbouring styles, while also responding positively to the surrounding streetscape. Our design offers a contemporary take on the ‘traditional’ terraced properties opposite in the street scene, using simple compositions, traditional materials and building elements, at the same time as being a distinctly modern chapter in the continuous history and development of Lillie Road.

How is DMA’s hospitality experience relevant to the residential sector?
We believe our hospitality experience gives us a valuable perspective on creating places where people want to stay short and long-term. Our contextual approach to design has seen us deliver projects from complex brownfield site redevelopments to high-end multiuse schemes. We are currently working on a number of serviced apartment schemes and have further residential projects in the pipeline.

To read more about the project, click here.