Architecture by Studio Ben Allen, as seen in Private Residence, London, United Kingdom

Architecture by Studio Ben Allen seen at Private Residence, London - A Room For Two
Architecture by Studio Ben Allen seen at Private Residence, London - A Room For Two
Image credit: Michael Sinclair

A Room For Two

Our project to create a bedroom for two siblings in London’s Barbican Estate has been featured in Dezeen, The Sunday Times, Barbican Life magazine and in the book Homework published by Thames & Hudson. It was listed as one of Dezeen’s top ten residential interiors of 2017.

Designed for a flat in London’s Barbican estate the brief was to create a space for his two children to sleep, relax, play, read and work when they stay there at weekends. It was important to provide an engaging space for the children that also made reference to the architecture of the Barbican estate.

Within one room the proposal creates two interconnected but distinct spaces, one for each child thus allowing them to socialise and connect whilst also having their own privacy. Inspired by the painting St Jerome in His Study by Antonello da Messina, our departure point was to create an installation, that is as much a small piece of architecture as it is a piece of furniture. By playfully separating the space it both divides and connects, framing views out to the estate and creating an architectural dialogue between siblings. Two arches create notional thresholds and a sense of enclosure to each of the children’s spaces, as well as referencing the surrounding Barbican architecture. Within each of the spaces pitched roof forms, one positive, one negative, symbolise each as a personal petit maison.

To provide for a variety of social and play activities as well as future reconfiguration, the desks can be folded away or moved. These, along with shared elements such as the step shelving allow the whole ensemble to be used in a variety of different ways. The workspace for the elder of the siblings is more private reflecting her greater independence and need for quiet study space, that for the younger is closer to the main flat and more accessible for parental input.

In order that the final installation reads as one coherent whole, it has been fabricated from one durable, natural material, namely (lightly stained) Birch plywood. Working closely with the fabricators, every element was CNC cut as a kit of parts that can be easily dismounted and reassembled for future use.

The installation has proved a success with its occupants, providing them with an engaging and playful series of spaces and enabling them to happily share one room side-by-side.

Project Lead: Omar Ghazal
Photographs by Michael Sinclair
Fabricator: Top Notch Joinery

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Meet the Creator

Studio Ben Allen is a multidisciplinary design practice. We undertake a wide range of projects at the intersection of architecture, design and art. Each of our projects has at its core an open collaborative dialogue between participants and disciplines, from concept to production, in order to create unique and engaging spatial sequences.

Studio Ben Allen was founded in 2014 by architect Ben Allen and is built on over 15 years experience collaborating with designers, architects, artists and other creative disciplines. Having studied architecture at the Mackintosh School of Architecture, Ben worked for Fletcher Priest Architects and Jonathan Tuckey Design before moving to Berlin. There he worked at Studio Olafur Eliasson for almost a decade, on projects including Harpa, the Icelandic National Concert Hall, Reykjavik, which won the Mies van der Rohe European Union architecture prize in 2013-14, Your Rainbow Panorama at the Aros Museum, Aarhus. From 2009 he co-founded and collaborated with the collective KWY before relocating to London and founding Studio Ben Allen. Ben has also acted as a studio tutor at Oxford Brookes University and been a guest lecturer and critic at The Mackintosh School of Architecture, the Universität der Künste Berlin, Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art.

Omar Ghazal is an architect and project lead at Studio Ben Allen. Having studied architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, Omar worked with Nigel Coates and more recently Charles Avery for 2 years helping to realise projects including exhibitions and installation works. He has collaborated with the collective S.T.O.R.E. and his drawn works have been widely exhibited and published. He has acted as a guest critic at the AA, Central Saint Martins, Greenwich, CASS and the Bartlett School of Architecture.