Lynch Architects

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195 Mare Street E8

Known locally in Hackney as “That House on Mare Street”, number 195 was originally built in 1697 for a merchant from Ghent, and has lived many lives since, as a women’s refuge, working men’s club, and as offices and a squat. We’ve submitted a planning and listed building application re-converting this very beautiful 700m2 Grade 2* house back into a family home, with an arts space in the cellar and extensive new gardens. Our designs include a new staircase in the position where experts suspect a second stair may have originally existed, and the “re-construction” of a number of walls forming a sequence of enfilade rooms - in the house itself and in the gardens too. This theme, of spatial and temporal layers combined into a fragmentary or even ruined whole, is enacted at the microcosmic scale too, as a strategy for preserving the palimpsest-like character of parts of the structure, it’s multiple layers of paint, wall paper, timber linings, signs of previous lives, etc. The result, we hope, will be an imaginative, playful and heuristic experience for our clients and for visitors - living history. Initial steps in this process included the use of the house throughout 2023 as studio space for local artists alongside a number of exhibitions and performances, culminating with the creation of a mural by the Brazilian artist Thiago Mazza. Completion of building works is expected winter 2024.

Our designs include a new staircase in the position where experts suspect a second stair may have originally existed, and the “re-construction” of a number of walls forming a sequence of enfilade rooms - in the house itself and in the gardens too. This theme, of spatial and temporal layers combined into a fragmentary or even ruined whole, is enacted at the microcosmic scale too, as a strategy for preserving the palimpsest-like character of parts of the structure, it’s multiple layers of paint, wall paper, timber linings, signs of previous lives, etc. The result, we hope, will be an imaginative, playful and heuristic experience for our clients and for visitors - living history. In some sense we have been aiming, again, to create something that has an air of joy and melancholy at once: and are endlessly inspired by Hans-Georg Gadamer’s description, in “The Relevance of The Beautiful: Art as Play, Symbol and Festival“ (translated in 1986), of the essential character of civic-minded art as “an atmosphere of festive calm”.

Waypoint 1
Waypoint Two
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