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Oliver’s Wharf, Wapping

Acquired 2014
Strategy value creation through design
status sold
Built in 1870 by architects Frederick and Horace Francis, Oliver's Wharf is an example of the Victorian Gothic Revival aesthetic; it was originally used to house tea and other cargo delivered via the Thames. It was the first warehouse in Wapping to be converted and was transformed into a fully residential block in 1972.

The apartment extends to over 2,000sq ft of lateral space, and was the subject of an extensive renovation care of Huw Williams of architectural practice fourth_space. He was commissioned on his experience of using objects in space, rather than carving up a plan with traditional rooms and walls.

Each newly built element was made distinct from every other (and separate to the existing warehouse architecture) by being clad in a different material and in turn creating a collage of OSB board, polished plaster, cork, antique mirror, rubber, recycled leather, plywood and concrete tiles. The overall ambience of the apartment is one of variety and contrast. However, since all of the claddings were simple expressions of their original forms there is an authenticity to the scheme, and a straightforward colour palette of brown, black, grey and white, harmonizing with the original warehouse fabric. Careful attention was given to connection details so that old and new material related and responded directly to each other rather than the new imposing on the old.

The intervention stripped back the interior to three core elements of exposed brick, cast-iron columns and solid-oak boards. This minimal aesthetic was gradually elaborated to create a contemporary set of spaces with angled free-standing ‘box’ objects and ‘material planes’ used to define different zones. Care was given to increase views past and between newly inserted elements. In addition, these elements stopped short of the ceiling, allowing the original oak beams to visually oversail them, so that the new design helped to reinforce the overall scale and volume of the warehouse space.