This project is representative of a whole range of schemes in the studio that investigate the tricky balance between refurbishment and redevelopment.
The potential redevelopment of this site in Marylebone High Street sets familiar strategic questions in the current market. Whether to demolish and rebuild or refurbish and extend? How to make the rear of the site as attractive a location as the street frontage? How is the ground floor street frontage used? If it is a retail unit, what size of unit is appropriate, how is it serviced, is the floor to ceiling height sufficient? If basement car parking is provided, is it accessed by ramp or car loft?
What is the balance of office/ employment space to residential space and how are the entrances separated? If the number of flats exceeds the threshold for social housing, how is this dealt with? Do you simply maximise the permissible envelope or do you focus on providing quality flats and easily lettable office space?
The scheme we developed optimises the quality of floorspace in each flat rather than simply seeking the maximum floorspace, rather than simply maximising the development envelope, but opinion in the development team is split. What is clear is that the cost, loss of embodied carbon and time delay to construct a new building of a similar floor area has convinced the team to retain the current structure.