img(height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=2939831959404383&ev=PageView&noscript=1")

The Mews House, Bouverie Mews, Hackney

Words:
RIBA Regional Jury

With its totally one-off house for an artist, Spatial Affairs Bureau has created a quirky, complex and surprising studio, workshop and home

The Mews House. Credit: Rory Gardiner
The Mews House. Credit: Rory Gardiner

RIBA North London Regional Award 2023

The Mews House, Bouverie Mews, Hackney
Spatial Affairs Bureau, for Rana Begum
Contract value: Confidential
GIA: 520m2

The realisation that this extraordinary house is best viewed from the depths of Stoke Newington’s historic Abney Park Cemetery comes as the first sign that visiting this building will inevitably be a different experience from any before. Indeed, nothing about this house is as expected. Designed by Spatial Affairs Bureau for a London-based visual artist and her family, it is composed of two separate volumes linked by a first-floor bridge. These volumes accommodate not only a busy art workshop and home, but also an additional compact flat at the top of the house, intended for artists-in-residence who wish to spend time in London.

  • The Mews House. Credit: Rory Gardiner
    The Mews House. Credit: Rory Gardiner
  • The Mews House. Credit: Rory Gardiner
    The Mews House. Credit: Rory Gardiner
  • The Mews House. Credit: Rory Gardiner
    The Mews House. Credit: Rory Gardiner
  • The Mews House. Credit: Rory Gardiner
    The Mews House. Credit: Rory Gardiner
1234

In this house, complexity and surprise are the name of the game – to the point that it is even difficult to really capture the sense of it in individual photos, as every room has a multitude of angles and viewpoints to add interest.

The entrance is at the end of a scrappy industrial mews, off a busy Stoke Newington street. The low-key and mysterious door into the compound does nothing to announce what is in store. From here, one has access to an office, a basement studio, and the staircase that leads to the first-floor living areas.

In the summer, the view from the main first-floor rooms, perched high above the wall to the cemetery, is entirely taken up by the immediately adjacent canopy of the trees on the other side of the wall. In the winter, the view is of old tombstones and the paths between them.

  • The Mews House. Credit: Rory Gardiner
    The Mews House. Credit: Rory Gardiner
  • The Mews House. Credit: Peter Culley
    The Mews House. Credit: Peter Culley
  • The Mews House. Credit: Rory Gardiner
    The Mews House. Credit: Rory Gardiner
  • The Mews House. Credit: Rory Gardiner
    The Mews House. Credit: Rory Gardiner
  • The Mews House. Credit: Rory Gardiner
    The Mews House. Credit: Rory Gardiner
12345

Visiting the house, one cannot but be struck by the contrast between the view of this cemetery, a strong reminder of nature but also of history and death, and the exuberant richness of the decorations and colours that abound in every room (for example the bathroom tiles) – a clear expression of the client’s artistic endeavours and preferences. A general quirkiness represents a very individual lifestyle, exemplified by a glass shower cubicle at the end of a very long corridor, in full open view – if a curtain is not pulled across.

A total one-off, this ‘crazy’ house is inventive and fun. The jury felt very lucky to be seeing it.

See the rest of the RIBA North London winners here. And all the RIBA Regional Awards here.

To find out more about the whole RIBA Awards process visit architecture.com

RIBA Regional Awards 2023 sponsored by GaggenauEH Smith and Autodesk 

Credits

Contractor: Barski Development Ltd
Structural engineer: Structure Workshop
Environmental / M&E engineer: David Lindsey
Quantity surveyor / cost consultant: Exigere
Project management: Kempton Smith
Landscape Design: Spatial Affairs Bureau
Interior design: Spatial Affairs Bureau
Lighting Design: Spatial Affairs Bureau

 

Credit: Spatial Affairs Bureau
Credit: Spatial Affairs Bureau
Credit: Spatial Affairs Bureau
Credit: Spatial Affairs Bureau
Credit: Spatial Affairs Bureau

Latest articles

Webinar: Architecture for Housing and Residential Development

  1. Products

Architecture for Housing and Residential Development webinar

Webinar: Addressing Onsite Safety using Fall Protection Systems

  1. Products

Webinar: Addressing Onsite Safety using Fall Protection Systems

PiP Design for Sustainability Webinar 2024

  1. Products

PiP Design for Sustainability Webinar 2024