Nicolò Lewanski

Nicolò Lewanski

New York, NY, US


Mentmore Terrace

Mentmore Terrace is one of those road where ten years ago it was not even safe to pass by and now hipsters go around in expensive bikes and organic bakeries flourish. Therefore there is potential for development of residential areas, and more interestingly  a type of development which must be appealing for young professionals working typically in creative field in the city. In other words, it could not be the average development, rightly and specifically in terms of value. Some of its characteristics reflect the need to exploit urban value, such as the site extrusion on 5 floors comprising a set back one on top, for 17 meters total. The office of the architects is literally on the neighbouring building, so it was great to have the possibility to see them breaking ground and building up the concrete constantly checking the drawings.
When I arrived to the office, the architectural part and drawings had been completed already by somebody else.
Therefore I took the lead of a small team of internships and other architects, and went fully into the day to day process of checking if the building site was proceding correctly, and modifying drawings to overcome problems, redefining or drawing details form scratch, draw increasingly detailed floorplans for construction purposes, talking with structural and electrical engeneers, and so on. The only part that has more to do with architectural drawings that I had to deal with was the facades design, in terms of the ceramic panels and their disposition, as the windows were already been fixed as I got into the project.
The building is previewed to be in energetic class A, and apart from the insulation this is due of course to a number of technical detail on the juctions between the windows and the balcnies as well; for this reason, there is also the pitfall of the excessive thickness of the balconies, whch is probably the only failure of the project itself as it was conceived. But it is also true thet it is a difficult problem to solve. The architectural materialization is particularly unusual for a development, as it lives out of the contrast between very rough materials such as the concrete for the floors, and the rough construction concrete for the ceilings, and the rough construction concrete-like blockwork for half of the internal partition walls. The other half is plasterboarded, and creates a stunning contrast with the former, together with a number of very high end wooden finishes and the ceramic facade, also completely unusual in such a project. For this reason, this project rises from being the average development, in turning it materially inside-out, basically making public all the expensive finishes and materials and being very basic in the private spaces, and in the domestic part. This is a tough risk on the point of view of sales, that only the time will tell if it will pay back or not. As I write these words, the facade is being installed, and the project will be completed in a couple of months.

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Status: Under Construction
Location: London, GB
My Role: Junior Architect - also Project Architect
Additional Credits: Jo Hagan (director)
Vera Giannatelli, Shannon Go, Gonzalo Jose Izquierdo (trainees)