The office building at 35 Marylebone High Street had been vacated by long term occupants, the BBC, when it was sold for retail and residential redevelopment and the design subject to a limited competition; won by Dixon Jones. Following planning consent the site changed hands; Dixon Jones were retained by the new owners and Darling Associates joined the team to design the interior fit-out.
The 1930’s modern façade on Marylebone High Street is distinctive in style and there appeared to be no motive for its replacement; whereas the 1960’s six storey extension to the rear, dominated Beaumont Mews. Acknowledging the duality, the façade was retained as a frontage to new apartments and the rear extension was replaced with a new terrace of mews housing. The building form negotiates the two with a stepping section, animated by a series of terraces and pergolas. The west facing apartments enjoy the idiosyncrasies of the existing façade and those to the east benefit from large glazed sliding screens and a generous terrace.
At ground level, the houses facing Beaumont Mews, are embedded in the larger apartment building. The rooms are arranged around a central three storey court which draws natural light into the centre of the plan, whilst a retractable roof allows flexibility between internal and external occupation. As a result, this large apartment building is almost invisible from the mews. Floor area is maximised within the familiarity of the mews typology to the east and existing façade to the west.
The project achieves Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4, which is unusual for an upper end residential development and all the more challenging due to the retention of existing façade.