Corner House

DSDHA have worked with Derwent London to deliver this discreet yet alluring brick building that brings delight to its surroundings while engaging in an active dialogue with the wider context of the city. 

Corner House hopes to introduce a new type of contemporary beauty, one which is less ostentatious yet captivating, capable to build on the qualities of its location to provide a highly sustainable solution that embodies high quality design and craftsmanship. 

While at an urban level it celebrates the ordinary street corner, Corner House inverts this typology (typically presenting a more articulated treatment of the façade at the ground level) and places two jewel-like crystalline pavilions on the rooftop, opening up a series of unexpected views onto London’s variegated and ever changing roofscape. 

Corner House provides a mix of private and affordable homes, along with a commercial space on the ground floor. Over its six-storeys the building comprises 11 apartments, nine private (11,700 sq ft) and two affordable (1,900 sq ft) residential units, all of which are focused on having double or triple aspect rooms with exceptional levels of daylighting. 

Long before DSDHA’s intervention there were three distinct buildings on this site which were subsequently replaced by a large modern scheme. Corner House attempts to bring back the character of the original structures, consolidating their identities into a single block that reflects the urban hierarchy of the surrounding streets – grander Charlotte Street, quieter Tottenham Street and the more utilitarian identity of Tottenham Mews. 

The entrances to Corner House are configured to respond to the local context. The commercial unit addresses the other commercial frontages on Charlotte Street and deals with the noisy thoroughfare whereas the proposed residential entrances fronts onto the quieter Tottenham Street and Mews. 

The pavilions on the roof offer a hidden terrain to the project that only becomes apparent upon enquiry, occupying as they do the Rights Of Light envelope established by neighbouring buildings. Corner House does not disrupt the consistent morphology of the solid brick facades that characterise the neighbourhood – however the shifting planes of its slightly angled windows to the top floor suggest something unexpected. 

Materially, the brickwork facade is self supporting, thereby relieving loading on the foundations. This expedience allowed us to reduce the mass and thickness of the concrete structure above ground and to reduce the number of piled foundations, saving on concrete and on the energy embodied in its production. By using a traditional handset and load bearing approach the façade becomes ‘monolithic'. To mitigate the risk of cracking some movement joints are necessary – especially given the overall dimensions of the elevations. However, by using lime mortar instead of cement, and not supporting the brickwork from the structure, these joints have been dramatically reduced which contributes to the refined massing of the building which is at once both monumental and delicate. 

The stepped reveals to the facades were the result of extensive research and testing to capture the craftsmanship of masonry construction, whilst retaining plasticity to achieve a dramatic effect. Bespoke lintels help span the bays which relate proportionally one to another, reflecting the geometric derivations of most of Fitzrovia’s architecture. As a result each floor has a slightly different relationship between the sill and the internal floor levels, making the building appear less relentlessly stacked and subtly differentiated. 

Corner House is within a 500m radius of Suffolk House, a previous Derwent London and DSDHA’s mixed-use scheme. Within walking distance is also DSDHA’s West End project: the rejuvenation of the public realm around Tottenham Court Road – commissioned by the London Borough of Camden. 

Architect: DSDHA 
Interior Design: Milly Goodwin 
Structural Engineer: Elliot Wood  
M&E Engineer: M L M 
Cost Consultant: Core 5 
Project Manager: Gardiner & Theobald 
Planning Consultant: DP9 
Townscape Consultant: Peter Stewart Consultancy 
Delivery Architect: Veretec 
Contractor: Knight Harwood
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