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    H3O creates “unpredictable” zigzagging interiors for lightning-struck home

    Three jagged walls delineate the colourful spaces inside this converted barn in Sant Just Desvern, Spain, transformed by Barcelona studio H3O to reference a lightning bolt that struck the building generations ago.

    The one-storey Relámpago House is a former barn with a white-painted barrel-vaulted ceiling in the Spanish town of Sant Just Desvern on the outskirts of Barcelona.
    Relámpago House features a colour-block interiorFor the interior scheme, H3O took cues from an old family legend told by the homeowner, whose ancestors are said to have survived a lightning bolt that struck the barn and entered the building through the chimney, narrowly avoiding the family members sheltering under the dining table.
    “Transforming a story into architecture seemed to us a fascinating and fun challenge,” the studio told Dezeen.
    H3O delineated spaces with jagged walls informed by lightning boltsH3O inserted three intersecting walls shaped like lightning bolts into the plan, defining rooms within the otherwise open space.

    “This geometry choice is not random – it emulates the unpredictable trajectory and rapid dispersion of a lightning bolt’s energy,” added the studio.
    The all-pink bedroom is accessed via a colourful doorThe colourful intersecting walls enclose a private bedroom and bathroom, as well as forming the perimeter of the open-plan kitchen and living area.
    This communal space features zigzagged strip lighting suspended above a boxy metal kitchen island and walls clad in green glazed tiles.
    Strip lighting was suspended above a metal kitchen islandSugary pink walls delineate the bedroom, accessed via a contrasting door that is painted dark green on one side and deep blue on the other.
    “The interaction of these colours with the opening and closing doors creates an experience of spatial fluidity inspired by the pop art aesthetic of the 70s, reflecting a radical, fun and optimistic spirit,” explained H3O.
    The angular bathroom has a blue ceiling and wallsCharacterised by a mixture of green tiles and floor-to-ceiling dark blue paint, the bathroom is the smallest and most angular of the spaces, with a jagged, asymmetric mirror that wraps one corner of the room and tops a geometric sink.
    “The construction of the walls involved a meticulous design and execution process, ensuring that every angle and twist served an aesthetic function and optimised habitability and indoor living,” the studio said.
    Stones were collected to create “seemingly out-of-context” door handlesSmall stones were collected to create “seemingly out-of-context” door handles throughout the dwelling, adding organic accents to the otherwise colour-blocked interior.
    As a final nod to the home’s tumultuous history, a sculptural silver lightning bolt now protrudes from the chimney.

    Masquespacio founders create home and office where “everything revolves around play”

    “The idea of a lightning bolt redefining space, filling it with form and colour, pushed us to explore beyond conventional boundaries,” reflected H3O.
    “Relámpago House transforms a forgotten barn into a visual spectacle.”
    A silver lightning bolt protrudes from the building’s chimneyVarious other architectural projects have been defined by zigzagging motifs.
    London-based Outpost studio created a jagged zinc kitchen extension in Haggerston while German practice Wulf Architekten designed a sports centre for a school in Überlingen with a folding roof to reference the mountains of the surrounding Alps.
    The photography is by José Hevia. 

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    Masquespacio founders create home and office where “everything revolves around play”

    The founders of Spanish studio Masquespacio have transformed a traditional Valencian farmhouse into their self-designed home and studio, with maximalist interiors that nod to the Memphis movement.

    Creative and life partners Ana Milena Hernández Palacios and Christophe Penasse renovated the 1920s villa, which was once a farmhouse on the outskirts of Valencia, to create a hybrid home and studio that reflects their maximalist approach to interiors.
    Masquespacio has designed a live-work space in Valencia”Everything revolves around the concept of play,” explained Hernández Palacios, who co-founded Masquespacio with Penasse in 2010.
    “We’ve been influenced by many styles over the last decade, from New Memphis to art deco and futurism,” Penasse added. “We can say that our private home is a mix of it all.”
    The ground floor holds the studio’s workspacesThe duo maintained the building’s original timber front door and white facade decorated with light-blue window frames and ornate grilles.

    Inside, the ground floor was reserved for their studio, spread across several interconnected meeting rooms in the former farmstead, known locally as an alquería.
    Masquespacio restored the building’s original hydraulic floor tilesHere, Masquespacio restored the building’s decoratively patterned hydraulic floor tiles alongside its traditional doors and windows.
    Painted in bright hues, they help to colour-code the different office spaces, filled with the studio’s characteristic chunky, lumpy and latticed furniture.
    There is a double-height interior courtyard at the centre of the home”As always, the project includes a mix of colours, textures and forms – one of the main aspects of all our designs, no matter what aesthetic we’re working with,” Penasse told Dezeen.
    At the centre of the home is a double-height interior courtyard illuminated by skylights, with exposed-brick walls painted in lilac surrounded by wiggly flowerbeds with lush statement cheese plants.
    From the courtyard, visitors can see up to an interior balcony on the first floor, which is accessed via a purple concrete staircase and contains the living spaces.
    The couple’s bed is encased in a green dome next to a hot-pink seating booth.The balcony reveals two sculptural objects – a giant green dome that conceals the couple’s bed and a curved hot-pink screen that hides a seating booth.
    This immersive furniture – Penasse’s favourite part of the project – creates a focal point that connects both levels of the house but also provides more private quarters for the couple despite the open nature of the overall plan.
    A mosaic of yellow tiles defines the bathroom”There are no wall partitions to hide our home [from downstairs] but it’s kept private by the bed’s form and a semi-transparent green curtain that allows us to take advantage of the natural light almost everywhere on the upper floor,” explained Penasse.
    The sleeping area is connected to the main living space via a tunnel-like corridor, which includes an all-yellow bathroom with triangular cabinets and walls clad with a mosaic of handmade ceramic tiles.

    Ten self-designed studios by architects and designers

    Opposite the bathroom is a colourful open-air terrace featuring circular windows and similar built-in seating to Bun Turin – an Italian burger joint designed by Masquespacio with boxy blue-tiled tables created to look like swimming pools.
    “Geometry can be found all over our house,” explained Hernández Palacios. “Everything is a game of circles and triangles.”
    The terrace follows a similar geometry to the interiorsThe light blue kitchen includes large, triangular alcoves and cupboards finished in natural stone and aluminium, designed to conceal utilities.
    There is also an island made from veiny marble and petite glazed tiles. Bespoke Masquespacio bar stools were wrapped in matching pale blue fabric.
    Triangular cupboards feature in the kitchenNext to the open-plan kitchen, the living and dining spaces include more brightly coloured furniture from the studio’s Mas Creations collection, which features the same twisted and angular shapes and soft upholstery as the pieces downstairs.
    Floor-to-ceiling curtains form a backdrop for a snaking lime green sofa, while dark green dining chairs with pyramidal backrests were positioned around a jewel-like glass table.
    Striking pyramid-shaped dining chairs continue the maximalist theme”Ninety-five per cent of the furniture and objects in our house are part of our Mas Creations collection, locally designed and produced by our studio,” said Penasse.
    Similarly bold projects from Masquespacio include a restaurant in Milan, Italy, with interiors that take cues from futuristic spaceships and the first Mango Teen store in Barcelona featuring vivid graphic shapes.
    The photography is courtesy of Masquespacio. 

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    Luke McClelland uses stone and oak to overhaul Georgian apartment in Edinburgh

    A select few materials appear throughout this apartment in Edinburgh, which architect Luke McClelland has revamped to let its historic features take centre stage.

    The two-floor apartment is located in Edinburgh’s New Town, set within a Grade I-listed building that dates back to the 19th century.
    Luke McClelland has renovated a Georgian apartment in EdinburghSuccessive years of modifications meant that the home’s grand Georgian proportions and historic details had all but disappeared.
    Local architect Luke McClelland was tasked with sensitively stripping back the interior to reveal its original charm.
    A kitchen suite was added into the home’s dining room”The muted interior is intended to compliment, rather than detract from, the existing building,” he explained. “A simple material palette was agreed with the client: Ceppo Di Gre stone and oak.”

    He started by incorporating the kitchen into the apartment’s generously sized dining room. A bespoke oak wood counter crafted by local joinery studio Archispek now centres the space.
    A new doorway grants access to a utility room, which occupies the old kitchenOne end of the counter serves as a dining table, while the other end has a stove that’s set into a slab of Ceppo Di Gre stone.
    The same stone was used to build the work surface that runs above a series of low-lying oak cupboards at the rear of the room.

    Fraser/Livingstone adds angular tenement to historical Edinburgh site

    The former kitchen has been transformed into a utility room where appliances and other household items can be stored, a move that McClelland says will allow the new kitchen to “maintain its clean, sculptural lines”.
    More storage is provided by arched nooks punctuating either side of the opening that looks through to the living area.
    Plump blue Togo sofas by French brand Ligne Roset and expansive abstract paintings by Edinburgh-based artist Arran Rahimian were added to the space to soften the appearance of its stark white walls.
    Arched nooks offer extra storageThe home used to have carpet and vinyl flooring. But this was peeled back to reveal the original pinewood boards, which were carefully sanded and oiled to bring back the brilliance of their grain.
    One exception is the hallway, where porcelain tiles were uplifted to expose flagstones underneath, while the original staircase was repaired and restored.
    Abstract art and deep-blue sofas decorate the living areaThe project also saw McClelland merge two small storerooms to form a bathroom, complete with Ceppo Di Gre wall panelling.
    A new doorway was created between the kitchen and the utility area. Any other major structural changes were avoided so that the building could uphold its listed status.
    A new bathroom was created in the home’s flagstone-lined hallwayThis isn’t the first home that Luke McClelland has completed in Edinburgh. In 2022, he updated a Georgian apartment in the city’s port district of Leith, reconfiguring its convoluted layout to allow in more natural light.
    A few years earlier, he also revamped his own home in the Comely Bank neighbourhood to feature a series of modern, airy living spaces.
    The photography is by ZAC and ZAC.
    Project credits:
    Designer: Luke McClelland DesignConstruction: Pawlowski ConstructionsKitchen fabrication: ArchispekLiving room artwork: Arran Rahimian

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    Eero Saarinen’s Black Rock skyscraper refurbished in New York

    The first and only skyscraper designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen in New York City has undergone a renovation by Vocon Architects and MdeAS Architects to help it “meet the expectations of today”.

    At the behest of developer HGI, local architecture studios Vocon Architects and MdeAS Architects renovated and restored the 51W52 skyscraper, also known as Black Rock, which was completed as a headquarters for American media giant CBS in 1964.
    CBS moved all of its facilities out in late 2023 and Black Rock now contains offices for a variety of companies, including HGI itself.
    Eero Saarinen’s first and only skyscraper has been renovatedDesigned by modernist architect Saarinen as his first and only skyscraper, 51W52’s original symmetrical facade of granite, bronze and travertine has survived, with the bronze fins updated by the renovation team.
    At the time, Saarinen called it the “simplest skyscraper statement in New York”.

    The original design was mostly maintained, and the developer, which purchased the landmarked building in 2021, said that the relatively column-less floor plans made it a perfect candidate for a contemporary office, though the interiors needed an update.
    The building’s facade is made of granite, bronze and travertine”From the beginning, we understood the immense potential of 51W52 given its architectural significance, desirable floor plans, and central location in Midtown,” said HGI president T Richard Litton Jr.
    “The structure of the building was optimal, we just needed to make subtle enhancements to reflect and appreciate its original design.”
    Most of the structural elements in the building were left intact. The architectural team completely renovated two lobbies on the ground floor, including a revamp of the finishes and the elevators. They also redid the building’s rooftop garden.
    Contemporary details and furnishings were added to the lobbyThe project also included the renovation of key amenities spaces including a lounge, fitness centre and a private cafe.
    The studios said that instead of completely rethinking the aesthetics of the 900,000-square-foot (83,600 square-metre) building, they aimed to “let the significant architecture speak for itself”.
    The wide, long walls of the lobby were finished in detailing that echoes those used for the original facade. Some of the walls were covered in brass-tipped wooden slats, while others feature monolithic granite slabs.
    The elevator bay was clad in light-coloured stoneBack-lit stone clads the reception desk, above which was placed a modernist fresco that incorporates the CBS logo to call attention to the history of the building.
    This artwork, by artist Vincent Ashbahian, was originally displayed in the building in the 1970s and willed back to the building after his death.
    Toronto outfit Viso created a massive lighting fixture made of dangling lights on strands to cover a large swath of the lobby.

    Oyler Wu Collaborative repurposes Eero Saarinen bank teller canopies for installation

    “By conceptualizing the experience from the outside in, we were able to restore the fundamental beauty of his design and apply the principles of form, light, and even water to new elements such as the feature stair and water feature that meet the preferences of contemporary office users,” said MdeAS Architects managing partner Dan Shannon.
    From the lobby, a glass-lined stairwell leads down to lounge areas. The stairwell shaft is clad in stainless steel rendered in an undulating pattern.
    Models of furniture originally designed by Saarinen and architect Florence Knoll were placed throughout the renovated spaces.
    A water feature was placed underneath the staircase leading to the below-lobby loungeAs it leads to lounge areas below, it passes over a small, still water feature: a small pool of water retained by black-painted metal.
    “The creation of private lounges, a conference center, and fitness studios help the building meet the expectations of today’s best corporate talent, while their designs maintain the integrity of Saarinen’s original architecture,” said Vocon Architects principal Tom Vecchione.
    Saarinen is known for his modernist architecture, with built work across the United States and Europe. Recently, a number of his buildings have been undergoing renovation, including his TWA terminal at JFK, which was repurposed into a hotel.
    Other modernist skyscrapers that have undergone restorations and renovations in New York City include the famous Lever House skyscraper, which was restored by SOM, its original architects.
    The photography is by Colin Miller.

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    Reflect Architecture balances “contemporary art with family life” in Toronto house

    Canadian studio Reflect Architecture has renovated a home in Toronto for a new generation of the same family, while incorporating an extensive art collection.

    North Drive House was the childhood home of one of the owners. After stints living abroad and in Downtown Toronto, the couple were lured back to the two-acre property for the space to raise their young family.
    The home’s hallways and living spaces were renovated to feel like a gallery for the couple’s art collectionHowever, the residence’s traditional interiors were not to their taste, so Reflect Architecture principal Trevor Wallace was called in to undertake an extensive renovation.
    His approach was to create a deliberate “tension” between the need to display an extensive contemporary art collection – which includes pieces by Robert Mapplethorpe and Erik Madigan Heck – and fulfilling the needs of a family home.
    A sculptural staircase features layered bannisters, stepped profiles and curved forms”The idea of living in a gallery was always important to the owners, but the critical distinction is that they didn’t want to live in a museum,” said Wallace.

    “This is a family home above all. The owners have always imagined that their kids would one day look back on living here and think it was pretty cool that they were playing soccer or running around inside what felt like an art gallery.”
    The living room includes contemporary furniture and a ribbon-like fireplace by Brooklyn designer Leyden LewisThe team retained the existing layout and circulation while updating the spaces with fresh materials, colours and forms.
    Most in line with the gallery-like aesthetic, the living spaces, hallways and corridors feature stark white walls and minimalist detailing such as flush doors and entryways.
    A different approach is taken in the dining room, where the walls are painted dark tealAt the centre of the home is a staircase designed as if a piece of sculpture itself, comprising layered bannisters, stepped profiles and curvaceous forms.
    A similarly playful tactic was applied in the living room, which features a rippling, ribbon-like fireplace designed by Brooklyn-based designer Leyden Lewis.
    Doors and entryways throughout the home are designed to be flush with the walls”We had a lot of fun exploring and playing with the staircase’s shapes and orientations,” Wallace said. “We wanted it to feel organic and fluid, and that required being playful. That was true for the entire house from start to finish, it was important that we didn’t take the whole thing too seriously.”
    The spareness of these spaces is swapped in the cooking and eating areas, which feature darker, richer colours like the teal dining room.

    Blue slide is centrepiece of Walker house renovation by Reflect Architecture

    A knotted light fixture by Lindsey Adelman hangs over the large stone dining table, accompanied by chairs with ochre velvet upholstery.
    In the kitchen, tone-on-tone travertine cabinetry and surfaces include a new 15-foot-long (4.5-metre) kitchen island.
    Tone-on-tone travertine cabinetry and surfaces were added in the kitchenAn existing gabled skylight overhead was maintained, but its beams were updated with a copper hue to “complement the travertine”.
    The room is oriented towards a glass wall facing a Japanese maple tree in the garden, under which sits a large dining table by local furniture designer Mary Ratcliffe.
    A 15-foot-long (4.5-metre) island was also added beneath an existing skylightWallace founded Reflect Architecture in 2016, and the studio’s previous work includes a Toronto home renovation with a blue slide as its centrepiece.
    Other recently completed residential overhauls in the city include a residence connected by asymmetric brass-lined portals and a house where built-in storage volumes were added.
    The photography is by Doublespace Photography.

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    Post Company restores hotel known as birthplace of Apple’s Macintosh computer

    New York design studio Post Company has revived a historic hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, drawing on the building’s illustrious past and recent acclaim to inform its interiors.

    The 75-key La Playa Hotel is situated a few blocks from the beach in the town, located on California’s Pacific Coast Highway and renowned for its bohemian spirit.
    The moody lobby of La Playa Hotel features dark coffered ceilings and textured plaster wallsIt was taken over in 2012 by Marc & Rose Hospitality – which also operates the recently overhauled High Country Motor Lodge in Flagstaff, Arizona – and reopened in October 2023 following a long renovation process.
    “As the fifth owners in its more than 115-year history, we focused on letting the building lead us to a design that supports the stories of the past, while infusing thoughtful amenities to meet the expectations of the modern traveller,” said Marc & Rose president John Grossman.
    Restored elements of the building include a staircase with tiled risers and iron railingsThe team worked with Post Company to uncover historical details about the property, which was originally built in 1905 by landscape painter Chris Jorgensen for his wife, chocolate heiress Angela Ghirardelli.

    After the death of her niece at Carmel Beach, the couple sold the mansion and it was converted into a hotel by adding 20 rooms, then further expanded to its current size in 1940.
    The hotel bar, Bud’s, is designed to be dark and intimateIn 1983, it was the site of an Apple company retreat, during which founder Steve Jobs unveiled the first working prototype of the Macintosh computer.
    With all this history, as well as ties to key figures of the bohemian movement, Post Company restored the Spanish Colonial-style building in a respectful manner while introducing new elements to enhance its character.
    A brighter approach to the decor was taken in the hotel’s guest rooms and suites”Our design honours the hotel’s history and vernacular while ushering in the works and objects of contemporary artists and muses,” said Post Company.
    “Each space is a singular and inviting design – much like the diverse cast of patrons and local characters engrained in its extensive past – resulting in an eclecticism that is a deeper reflection of what has always been and paves the way for a new generation to gather, create, and explore.”
    Cream walls and linen curtains complement the original shell pendant lights by Frances Adler ElkinsThe moody and atmospheric lobby features terracotta floors, a dark coffered wood ceiling and textured plaster walls, and is furnished with a variety of vintage pieces.
    A sweeping staircase leading upstairs to the guest rooms is adorned with patterned tiles on its risers and thin iron railings.
    Dark wood furniture contrasts the lighter-toned walls and textilesThe hotel’s bar, Bud’s, is named after Howard E “Bud” Allen – a Carmel local who took over the hotel in the 1960s and introduced a full-time bar and 10-minute happy hour.
    The space is dark and intimate, with plenty of wood panelling, leather-upholstered booths and banquettes, and decorative unlacquered brass and carved details.
    One of the guest rooms boasts a star-shaped stained-glass windowIn the guest rooms, Post Company took a lighter approach to the decor by choosing cream for the walls and the linen curtains.
    Curvaceous furniture is complemented by modern sconces and original plaster shell pendants by Frances Adler Elkins.

    Post Company imbues Mollie Aspen hotel interiors with earthy hues

    Each room has a curated bar, while the bathrooms have been updated with colourful tiles and blackened nickel fixtures.
    One of the ground-floor rooms boasts a star-shaped stained glass window, which is surrounded by foliage on the exterior.
    The hotel’s grounds are landscaped with brick paths and patios between plantingThe hotel’s grounds are landscaped with flowerbeds and lawns, criss-crossed by brick pathways that connect arched colonnades with patios and the outdoor swimming pool.
    Several guest rooms open directly onto the gardens, and a handful are in the pavilion that faces the pool terrace.
    The building’s historic Spanish Colonial architecture, typified by the arched colonnades around it periphery, was restored during the renovationLa Playa has multiple spaces for meetings and events, including a game room and the 2,160-square-foot (200-square-metre) Pacific Room that is typically used to host weddings.
    Breakfast is served in an indoor-outdoor dining room, whose covered terrace extends towards the ocean and provides a spot for evening cocktails while watching the sunset.
    The dining area extends out to a covered terrace where guests can watch the sunsetPost Company, formerly known as Studio Tack, is renowned for its hospitality projects and also recently completed the warm, wood-filled interiors for the Mollie Aspen hotel.
    The studio’s earlier work includes The Lake House on Canandaigua in New York’s Finger Lakes region, the Sound View hotel on the North Fork of Long Island and The Sandman converted motel in northern California.
    The photography is by Chris Mottalini.

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    SODA offers model for office-to-residential conversions with Roca in Liverpool

    London studio SODA has converted a 1970s office block in Liverpool city centre into a residential building that  includes co-working and wellness facilities.

    The adaptive reuse project sees the 10-storey block, which spent decades as an office for HM Revenue and Customs, transformed into rental homes managed by operator Livingway.
    Communal spaces take up most of the ground floorRoca contains 120 one- and two-bedroom apartments, plus two floors of co-living-style amenities for residents. These include workspaces, a large kitchen, cinema room, gym and treatment rooms and a planted roof terrace.
    Russell Potter, co-founding director at SODA, believes the project can serve as a model for office-to-residential conversions in city-centre locations.
    The design includes mix of flexible lounge and workspaces”The leaps that office design has made over the past decade or two have meant that certain period properties from the 1960s and 70s are perhaps not the most desirable from a commercial point of view,” he told Dezeen.

    “But if they occupy prime city-centre locations, they can offer amazing opportunities to adapt and re-use, to reinvigorate city centres with genuinely flexible and crafted spaces.”
    A timber “activity wall” provides surfaces, seating and storageLivingway’s model is a version of co-living. By offering Roca residents access to communal spaces, in addition to their apartments, it aims to foster a sense of community.
    Many of these shared spaces can be found on the ground floor. Here, various work, lounge and dining spaces are organised around a timber “activity wall” that provides surfaces, storage and seating.
    A communal kitchen is often used for cooking classes and demonstrationsOther interior details, such as folding screens, curtains and fluted glass windows, allow the space to be casually divided into different activity zones when required.
    Sometimes these spaces host workshops or classes, allowing residents to engage with local businesses.

    Chai Guys Portobello cafe interior evokes “the colour of spices”

    “We’re introducing an element of communal activity to act as a hub at ground floor, in a similar fashion to what’s been happening in other co-living arrangements,” said Potter.
    “It means you have the opportunity to create a genuine sense of community within a city centre.”
    The building was previously an office blockOn the apartment floors, the existing floorplates made it possible to create larger homes than typical co-living units, arranged on opposite sides of a central corridor.
    Apartments come fully furnished, with bedrooms and bathrooms separate from the living areas.
    The renovation provides 120 apartments in total”Office buildings typically have slim floor plates with decent floor spans and high proportions of glazing-to-floor area, so make ideal opportunities for residential conversion,” Potter explained.
    “Likewise, floor-to-ceiling heights don’t tend to pose an issue for residential,” he added. “Typically, commercial floor heights are higher than what you expect in residential, meaning that you get better aspects of light into the spaces.”
    The apartments are larger than is typical for co-livingLivingway offers five of these units as hotel rooms, available for short stay. But guests don’t have access to all of the communal facilities; most are reserved for residents.
    Technology plays an important role in the building management. An app allows residents to book certain rooms or sign up for workshops and classes, while digital locks allow access to be controlled.
    The communal spaces feature colours and patterns that reference the 1970sThe interior design approach reflects the building’s 1970s heritage, with furniture and finishes that don’t shy away from colour and pattern.
    Standout spaces include the cinema room, an all-red space featuring large upholstered chairs, tubular wall lights and art-deco-style mouldings.
    Across the rest of the ground floor, the exposed concrete waffle-slab overhead brings an industrial feel that contrasts with the warmth of the wood surfaces and soft furnishings.
    Standout spaces include a cinema screening roomThe homes feature a more subtle palette, with muted tones rather than white, to allow residents to bring their own personalities into the design.
    A similar level of care was brought to the outdoor spaces. These include an informal courtyard on the ground floor and the seventh-floor roof terrace, which incorporates a trio of hot tubs.
    A planted roof terrace includes three hot tubsThe project builds on SODA’s experience of designing shared spaces. The studio has designed various spaces for workplace provider The Office Group (TOG), including Liberty House and Thomas House.
    The collaboration with Livingway came about after the company reached out to the studio via Instagram.
    “It is amazing to see what a beautiful result has been produced and how much our residents truly enjoy calling Roco their home,” added Samantha Hay, CEO for Livingway.
    The photography is by Richard Chivers.

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    SODA offers model for office-to-residential conversions with Roco in Liverpool

    London studio SODA has converted a 1970s office block in Liverpool city centre into a residential building that  includes co-working and wellness facilities.

    The adaptive reuse project sees the 10-storey block, which spent decades as an office for HM Revenue and Customs, transformed into rental homes managed by operator Livingway.
    Communal spaces take up most of the ground floorRoca contains 120 one- and two-bedroom apartments, plus two floors of co-living-style amenities for residents. These include workspaces, a large kitchen, cinema room, gym and treatment rooms and a planted roof terrace.
    Russell Potter, co-founding director at SODA, believes the project can serve as a model for office-to-residential conversions in city-centre locations.
    The design includes mix of flexible lounge and workspaces”The leaps that office design has made over the past decade or two have meant that certain period properties from the 1960s and 70s are perhaps not the most desirable from a commercial point of view,” he told Dezeen.

    “But if they occupy prime city-centre locations, they can offer amazing opportunities to adapt and re-use, to reinvigorate city centres with genuinely flexible and crafted spaces.”
    A timber “activity wall” provides surfaces, seating and storageLivingway’s model is a version of co-living. By offering Roca residents access to communal spaces, in addition to their apartments, it aims to foster a sense of community.
    Many of these shared spaces can be found on the ground floor. Here, various work, lounge and dining spaces are organised around a timber “activity wall” that provides surfaces, storage and seating.
    A communal kitchen is often used for cooking classes and demonstrationsOther interior details, such as folding screens, curtains and fluted glass windows, allow the space to be casually divided into different activity zones when required.
    Sometimes these spaces host workshops or classes, allowing residents to engage with local businesses.

    Chai Guys Portobello cafe interior evokes “the colour of spices”

    “We’re introducing an element of communal activity to act as a hub at ground floor, in a similar fashion to what’s been happening in other co-living arrangements,” said Potter.
    “It means you have the opportunity to create a genuine sense of community within a city centre.”
    The building was previously an office blockOn the apartment floors, the existing floorplates made it possible to create larger homes than typical co-living units, arranged on opposite sides of a central corridor.
    Apartments come fully furnished, with bedrooms and bathrooms separate from the living areas.
    The renovation provides 120 apartments in total”Office buildings typically have slim floor plates with decent floor spans and high proportions of glazing-to-floor area, so make ideal opportunities for residential conversion,” Potter explained.
    “Likewise, floor-to-ceiling heights don’t tend to pose an issue for residential,” he added. “Typically, commercial floor heights are higher than what you expect in residential, meaning that you get better aspects of light into the spaces.”
    The apartments are larger than is typical for co-livingLivingway offers five of these units as hotel rooms, available for short stay. But guests don’t have access to all of the communal facilities; most are reserved for residents.
    Technology plays an important role in the building management. An app allows residents to book certain rooms or sign up for workshops and classes, while digital locks allow access to be controlled.
    The communal spaces feature colours and patterns that reference the 1970sThe interior design approach reflects the building’s 1970s heritage, with furniture and finishes that don’t shy away from colour and pattern.
    Standout spaces include the cinema room, an all-red space featuring large upholstered chairs, tubular wall lights and art-deco-style mouldings.
    Across the rest of the ground floor, the exposed concrete waffle-slab overhead brings an industrial feel that contrasts with the warmth of the wood surfaces and soft furnishings.
    Standout spaces include a cinema screening roomThe homes feature a more subtle palette, with muted tones rather than white, to allow residents to bring their own personalities into the design.
    A similar level of care was brought to the outdoor spaces. These include an informal courtyard on the ground floor and the seventh-floor roof terrace, which incorporates a trio of hot tubs.
    A planted roof terrace includes three hot tubsThe project builds on SODA’s experience of designing shared spaces. The studio has designed various spaces for workplace provider The Office Group (TOG), including Liberty House and Thomas House.
    The collaboration with Livingway came about after the company reached out to the studio via Instagram.
    “It is amazing to see what a beautiful result has been produced and how much our residents truly enjoy calling Roco their home,” added Samantha Hay, CEO for Livingway.
    The photography is by Richard Chivers.

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