The Rancid Ancestral House

This is the complete refurbishment and extension of a historical terraced house in a conservation area in Mile End, East London. Despite being the fifth private residential project that we have carried out in the immediate neighbourhood, a unique narrative has been found here too resulting in a distinctive scheme:

The owner, musician John Nicholas Somerset Murray, turns out to be an descendant of the photographer Dr John Murray. The latter was one of the world’s first photographers who went on to document Indian architecture in the 1800s. Through intimate conversations with the client and research into the family’s past we have developed an understanding for our client’s requirements and his legacy. It is the aim of this project to preserve this portion of family history in the shape of a carefully curated piece of architecture.

The scheme, layout and material palette derived from Dr John Murray’s historical photographs, pictures and items of him that have been passed on for generations, Indian patterns, an existing yellow shelf that the client loves, his devotion for music and nerdy Serpentine green tones (both, internally and externally). The result is supposed to be a modern homage to Victorian architecture with intriguing Indian influences without being too serious.

More details to follow soon.



Client: John Nicholas Somerset Murray


Structural engineers: TALL

Status: Construction scheduled for 2014.

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