Thorsten Deckler from the Johannesburg based Architectural studio 26'10 South calls the Brixton House a compact live-work compound for an architect couple and their young children. It represents a well served spatial arrangement that has undergone several changes over its lifetime into a meaningful mixture of retai and residential components is meaningful and well deserved and their ability to merge a general outlook to the street culture cannot be overstated.
From the Project Architects:
The existing buildings have been altered over a 100-year period from corner shop to cooking school to student commune, and now architects’ office and home. In order to conserve a modest budget, the existing structures were harvested by re-using and reconfiguring materials and elements. In this way the altered complex enters into dialogue with its own history. The Victorian veranda still characterising the area is reincarnated as a 'floating' first floor balcony providing a connection to the street over the boundary wall. The first floor addition borrows the sectional profile of the neighbouring house, a modest corrugated corner shop listed as a national monument. Corrugated sheeting on the south facade breaks the scale of the double storey and enters into a material dialogue with the historic neighbour. Whilst the additions can be clearly identified as contemporary the complex is conceived as a whole in which the various re-used parts such as the original sash windows, shutters and pressed ceilings provide clues to the history of the site. This history is self-evident in some parts and slightly mysterious in others where old elements re-appear in the new settings.
Brixton's Victorian heritage, whilst under threat, is also enlivened through a diverse citizenry not too concerned with appearances but appreciating the convenience of children playing in the street, shopping in spazas and corner cafes, repairing and washing cars on pavements, conversing from verandas and over low walls or winding down in taverns and boutique B&B's. The studio-home forms part of, and benefits from, this condition with its architecture telling a story of its past.
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