'stele'이란 돌이나 비석으로 만들어진 비석이란 의미로, 종종 기념 목적으로도 사용되는 것을 말한다.
처음에 건축주는 오래된 타운하우스를 인수하여 그 역사적인 특성과 주변의 환경에 깊이 빠졌다. 그래서 건축주는 이 집을 온전히 보전하고 싶은 마음과 함께 현대적으로 개조하고 싶은 마음이 모두 있었기에, 건축주의 요구에 부응하여 디자인을 설계했다. 그 결과 경제적이면서도 민감하게, 그러나 복원이 가능한 그런 구조로 각 방을 꾸미게 되었다.
A stele is a stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide, erected in ancient Western culture as a monument. Steles were often used for commemorative purposes.
The brief for this house was both typical and unusual. The clients had recently acquired half a listed townhouse in Islington, having fallen in love with its historic character and setting. However, the property was in a state of decay and they wanted to remodel the interior on a shoestring budget to better suit their needs and preference for open plan living. On the one hand they wanted to conserve the house, and on the other, they wanted to tear it apart.
The design marries these competing desires with a set of discrete incisions into the built fabric. Most of the new alterations could be consolidated into a single vertical stele running through the house, replacing the stair landing and spine wall. In so doing, the rest of the house could be economically, sensitively, and yet unapologetically restored, with the stele adorning the corner of each room and recording this latest layer of the building’s history.
Functionally, the stele houses a service riser and dressing area on the ground floor, provides a relocated doorway and storage for the living areas, and replaces a dangerously steep stair leading to a small office. The newly opened spine wall was replaced by an exposed blue structural steel that meanders through the house recording the wall’s former presence and borrowing its colour from a few surviving panes of stained glass. Two further incisions reveal the historic construction of the building and add to a feeling of openness throughout the property. These form a window-cum-splashback between the entrance stair and kitchen, exposing the heart of the house to those entering and leaving, and a new skylight for the landing and study. The demolished stair’s handrail was repurposed to form a set of bespoke joinery pieces in every room. Echoes of the old house can be felt throughout.