Concrete Elegance: Living Space


Speakers: Ian Palmer, BDP Manchester and Nick Eldridge, Eldridge Smerin Architects
Abito: Greengate, Manchester. 'Not bigger. Just smarter' is the strap line on the Abito website, which perfectly summarises the thinking behind this project. BDP were approached by Abito to design a new compact apartment scheme, aimed at first time buyers who are otherwise priced out of city centre property. The result? The £85,000 smart apartment. Every aspect of ‘standard’ apartment design has been analysed, questioned and reevaluated to produce a building which turns conventional wisdom on its head.

Swains Lane, Highgate

The commission to design a contemporary house in Highgate cemetery was a unique challenge. Apart from the site’s historic context, the existing house was designed by the architect John Winter who was philosophical about the project but asked that the new house be a worthy replacement. The new structure is of in-situ concrete, exposed internally. The street façade is of black granite and translucent glass presenting an abstract composition to passers-by. The façades overlooking the cemetery are glazed, flooding the internal board-marked concrete walls with sunlight. Many elements of the interior finish have been inspired by the geometry of the concrete formwork.