199 Southwark Bridge Penthouse

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Client: Lee / Fitzgerald Architects
Location: 199 Southwark Bridge Road, London
Completion: December 2010

199 Penthouse is an innovative and different approach to modern city living, which combines a busy city location with a real sense of peace and solitude.

The project represents the final flourish of a larger reconfiguration and extension to an outdated 1970s office block.

The design concept is that of the Mediterranean life style – which encompasses ideas of indoor/outdoor living, external rooms and the ’beach house’, and adopts as an archetype the ancient atrium. Within this concept the building is seen as a representation of the coastal cliff with the streetscape below spreading out as an urban ocean.

The ‘house’ is broken down into two simple elements: Living (public) and sleeping (private) with a bold white roughcast wall mediating between the two.

Living is expressed using the Atrium Archetype. The spaces meld inside with outside blurring ideas of exposure and protection. Externally these spaces are expressed by a cubic metal tiled screen which is linked to the main building by a raised over-sailing roof. At the heart of the development lies a ‘Greek’ courtyard creating an oasis of calm and a sense of removal from the city life beyond.

Sleeping is expressed using the ‘beach house’ concept, wrapping itself around the northern and easter sides of the wall and projecting out towards the city. This element is lightweight timber construction, with natural wood boarding internally and dark grey weatherboarding cladding to the outside.

The contrast between living and the design emphasises the difference between the living (public) areas of the house and sleeping (private) areas of the house. The defining wall mediates between the two. On the living side all is light, open and airy with the emphasis on outside living and robust external materials. On the sleeping side design is much more cellular and private with materials emphasising warmth and comfort.