Belsize Society committee member and architect Sanya Polescuk writes:
On 31 September, Open House Festival took place all over London. It was a great opportunity to step into and see many amazing buildings, usually not open to public. As every year for the last decade, following the project’s win of Architects Journal’s Retrofit Award 2013, Sanya Polescuk Architects opened the doors to their studio and the HMO flat above at 8 Belsize Court Garages.
Over 100 visitors came during the weekend of 9 and 10 September. With the help of four wonderful volunteers organised by the Open House Team, the practice’s architects conducted a tour, sharing knowledge of the building including its and the local area’s history. The talk illustrated various stages of design and construction which turned the original 19th century horse stables with coachman’s living quarters into the architects’ studio with the flat above.
The Open House atmosphere never disappoints. Visitors engage in conversations and ask questions about this and other similar projects of the practice. They all tend to be in conservation areas or are listed buildings so complex planning process is the norm. Questions about the challenges of working with existing buildings and details of sustainable solutions are typical. This year however it was particularly encouraging to see an increase in the interest in technical matters of retrofit such as types of sustainable insulation, carbon-reducing design and modern ways of on-site energy generation.
If you missed your chance to visit 8 & 8a Belsize Court Garages this year don’t worry, we will welcome the visitors next September again.