House in Bloomsbury



USI-AAM 2009

Bloomsbury, London, United Kingdom 

Design studio Jonathan Sergison Assistant Nickisch Georg, Tranfa Federico 

crit. Stephen Taylor, Tony Fretton


The project is located in Bloomsbury in the London Borough of Camden. 

The characteristics of the site play an important role in the concept and functionality behind the project, which itself is a unique and elegantly simple design, making light of the necessity for surrounding structural support. 

The site itself is a void within a row of terraced housing caused by the demolition of the previously existing building. However, this terrace system works on the basis that each neighbouring building provides structural support to its respective neighbours; thus, this void jeopardises the structural integrity of the entire row of housing and appropriate action is required to maintain the safety of the street. The houses themselves are distinct from one another, each displaying different fundamental designs. 

The project demonstrates the principle of balancing dynamic forces with simplistic elegance. I designed a structure that has the tension to withstand these compression forces, whilst simultaneously creating a misperception by maintaining the presence of the void. This concept became the most significant component of the project; it had to be bare whilst at the same time still be able to perform its functional requirements. 

The fundamental structure is dotted with individual independent wooden boxes, which I view as the ‘living cells’ of the design. The transition from the street to these cells follows a strict hierarchy, leading the individual through a vibrant sensory journey; the stairway of the block is accessed via a bridge leading up from the street. Due to the independent nature of the structure, there is a sense of complete freedom within the semi-public space; indeed, the entrance and the staircases are completely open. 

In-between the staircase and private area, there is an open space, which is, in essence, the heart of the project. The centre of this space emphasises the concept behind the entire structure and design, where the perception of the forces holding the void together are simulated whilst simultaneously giving you an unspoilt glimpse to the sky.




26.5cm x 20cm - 64 pages 


MAP, Mendrisio, 2011 

ISBN 978-0-9542371-4-1

Alice Busani
dipl. architetto USI-AAM
OAPPC della Provincia di Parma n.1090