West Hampstead NW2

Astonworld Ltd were proud to have been appointed by the Amar-Frances Foster-Jenkins Trust as the main contractor for this ambitious project, that converted this large house into high-quality accommodation for post-graduate students of the arts, who will now be able to develop their creative skills within a specific design space

This project is also being showcased as a case study in the annual edition of RIBA London 22 Directory – a global launchpad of architectural innovation emanating from London, including awards in Sustainability, Small Project of the Year & London Awards. RIBA London 22 is digitally circulated for a period of 12 months from publication and seen by 40,000+ RIBA accredited Memebrs, Client Advisors, Members of the RICS, RTPI, IStructE, ICE, CIOB, CIC, Builders and Property Developers with £1m-£40m turnover . It goes without saying that we are immensely proud to have one of our flagship projects feature in such a prestigious publication.

The project also been shortlisted in Architects’ Journal Retrofit Awards 2021, There has also been editorial recognition of the project on the architect online magazine De Zeen –

The house is situated in the Mapesbury Conservation Area in North London. It underwent a major internal refurbishment, remodelling and extension additions at the rear. From the outset, the brief was to create a home for the post graduate students that went beyond the often steril and cramped conditions of some typical accommodation. Key to the project was to bring a sense of community to the house, whilst also respecting the needs of an individual’s space. The main house comprises 7 generously sized student rooms with en-suite bathrooms, combined with good-sized shared living areas. A mezzanine workspace has been integrated into the design so that students have the option of working in their rooms or using the shared space when they feel like having some company. This area sits above the dining space and maintains a visual connection to the kitchen through the internal windows. Changes in level are used to create connections to the newly landscape garden and outside terrace space.

In the rear garden sits the purpose built Opera Rehearsal Room – a unique, acoustically optimised space for the post-graduate students to hone their skills. It takes the form of a rectangular volume where the opposing corners are pulled down to create a diagonal fold across the roof. This simple geometric manipulation creates an asymmetric internal room where parallel surfaces are reduced to generate ideal acoustics for the rehearsal and recording of opera. We have used expressed internal timber glulam frames to act and enhance the acoustics and establish a series of bays that are expressed externally through bronze panels and fins that wrap the roof and walls. Glulam is vastly superior in strength to standard solid timber, has fewer natural defects and boasts a wider distribution. It’s also comparable to steel in strength but with the benefits of it being much lighter

As you can see from the photos, this project is now a modern, state-of-the-art property that enables the students lucky enough to live here, to be able to further enhance and nurture their abilities. The Amar-Frances Foster-Jenkins Trust is a charity that provides bursaries and accommodation for talented post-graduate students – they do this in both the fields of the Arts and Sciences.

Project Stats

  • 14 Months completion
  • Completed on time & within budget
  • Full time team of 12
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