• A Guide to London Basement Conversions: Basements in Mews

    Basements in London Mews

    Shape Architecture has obtained planning permissions for basement conversion in Mews properties and we are currently working on several others. Our Kensington basement conversion at Adam and Eve Mews provides a good example of those issues which should be considered and the various ways in which a design response can be arrived at.

    Kensington Basements

    The prime issue is how to create a light and spacious interior, and this relates to the way in which natural light can be brought into the basement conversion. In this project the starting point was an existing lightwell at ground floor level that was largely hidden from view. The design approach was to expose the lightwell so it was clearly visible at ground floor and then extend it to basement level in order to bring light into the rear of the basement. The double height void is becomes a distinct feature of the project and adds a sense of space and volume. A two storey bookcase is set at the rear wall of the lightwell. Given that the lightwell as a vertical volume provides light and interest at the rear of the Mews a different approach was taken in respect of providing light to the street side of the basement conversion. Here the typical response of lightwell or pavement light was not possible as the property gives straight onto the Mews with no garden space. The solution was to create an internal one metre deep continuous glass ban across the front of the property. The structural glass panel starts as opaque at one side (the point of entry) and gradually becomes clear towards the other side. The effect is to provide daylight to the front of the basement conversion and once more a sense of space and volume within the basement conversion itself. The gradation from opaque to clear is also another point of interest when looking up from the basement conversion.

    London Basement Conversions: A Sense of Space and Light

    The development of natural light strategies into key features of the interior that also emphasise a sense of space and volume have contributed to the success of this basement conversion in a mews.