Private House, Fournier Street

Fournier Street

Spitalfields, E1

Date of construction: 1725

Client: Private

In the heart of East London is one of the finest Georgian houses in Spitalfields. The four-bay wide, five-storey townhouse was built by the original owner who happened to be a joiner and cabinet-maker and therefore features an exceptional oak staircase and timber panelling in the principal rooms.

When Julian Harrap Architects implemented the first phase of works to the grade II listed building, the house was structurally in serious danger of collapse. The central spine wall was virtually non-existent evidenced by the floors in the middle of the house which had an exaggerated deflection due to the lack of adequate structural support. JHA’s solution involved threading a new steel structure within the existing historic elements to minimise the impact of any modern interventions. Also, to retain the appearance of the distorted, sagging floors the new steel beams were cranked to follow the timber floor deflection.

Throughout the repair and refurbishment of the house every effort was made to address the client’s aspirations to make the new interventions disappear within the historic building. The original timber panelling was repaired and any new services were concealed, for example, the underfloor heating installed in the basement was hidden beneath reclaimed York stone flags salvaged from a disused railway station in West Yorkshire.

JHA is currently involved in the next phase of development, which entails the demolition of the garages situated at the bottom of the garden and the construction of a mews outbuilding housing a gymnasium, garage and ancillary residential accommodation.