Behind every great architect there is always a first project, the one that kick starts a career and the one that will never truly be forgotten. For Alex Michaelis of Michaelis Boyd Associates, one of the UK’s most important architects, that project was 33 St Quintin Avenue, a Victorian townhouse conversion located on a leafy residential street in North Kensington. Now, decades after Michaelis moved on, the property is once again for sale and looking for buyers who will relish the opportunity to own a piece of property, created by the man currently driving the high profile conversion of Battersea Power Station, one of the UK’s most iconic landmarks.
Alex, this is a charming flat. What was your brief to yourself on this project?
This was the first flat that I ever owned and I bought the whole house with a friend of mine long before I set up my practice, Michaelis Boyd Associates. We divided the house up and my friend took the ground floor, basement and garden. I took the top of the house.
The flat is a lateral space which is unique in this area. What complexities were involved in order to achieve this?
The real complexities were in exposing the roof which is what makes sense of the lateral space. You need that volume to balance things out, particularly in living areas where you spend most of your time.
Were there any future technologies employed in the development of this property?
No, this was my own flat and its conversion was managed on a very small budget. What you see is what you get and that’s part of its charm, it’s a simple and honest property where the use of tactile materials such as wood, glass and steel complement the fabric of the original building. When we develop now, there is always an allowance made for future adaptations as technology and its capabilities changes so fast.
Every square inch of space has been utilised. Is this an ethos of the Michaelis Boyd architecture?
This was an interesting space to develop because it wasn’t completely square. Consequently there were areas that could only serve to be storage and spaces that made more sense when left as uncluttered and fluid as possible. Buildings have a language and if you listen to them then the alloaction of space becomes very clear. That is very much the ethos of Michaelis Boyd, to look at a building's capabilities and our expectations of design accordingly.
Post development, is there anything that you would change or do differently
No, it’s a great flat.
Michaelis Boyd Associates; michaelisboyd.com