Located in the bustling district of Shoreditch, the Dirty House stands as a testament to David Adjaye’s architectural philosophy, blending the mundane with a personal touch. Originally a public house, this structure has been transformed into a unique combination of art studio and residential space, catering to the needs of artists Sue Webster and Tim Noble. This transformation reflects a deliberate alteration in the balance between solid and void, favoring solidity to create a striking visual statement.
Dirty House Technical Information
- Architects: Adjaye Associates
- Location: Chance Street 2-4, Shoreditch, London, UK
- Client: Tim Noble + Sue Webster
- Topics: Total Black
- Area: 350 m² | 3,283 ft²
- Project Year: 2002
- Photographs: © Ed Reeve, © Lyndon Douglas
It doesn’t have to be dramatic. It can be completely mundane but it has to be something that’s a part of you.
– David Adjaye1
Dirty House Photographs
A Symbiosis of Art, Architecture, and Identity
The Dirty House is not just a building; it’s a statement piece that resonates with the artistic sensibilities of its owners. The reconfiguration of the original openings and the extension of walls upwards to form a parapet on the top floor are architectural decisions that respect the building’s history while projecting a new identity.
The presence of a new steel structure reinforces the existing walls and supports the additional top floor, adding both strength and aesthetic appeal. This structural addition is carefully integrated, with columns positioned inside the face of the external walls, accompanied by additional thermal insulation.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the Dirty House is the clear separation and distinct organization of the studio and living spaces. The studio occupies the volume of the older building, arranged in an enfilade manner, and maintains privacy through tinted reflective glass.
The living space, on the other hand, is an open area complemented by the containment of the main bedroom, both utilizing roof lights to enhance natural light. This arrangement allows the occupants to maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life within the same environment.
The Dirty House’s exterior is characterized by its contrasting elements. The lower levels are coated with dark, anti-graffiti paint, while the floating plane of the roof presents a lighter color, creating a visual dichotomy that reflects the interior organization. The mirrored glass in place of the original windows adds a layer of mystery and intrigue, preserving the building’s historical essence while introducing a modern touch. The rooftop, brightly illuminated, serves as a beacon in the Shoreditch skyline.
The Dirty House by Adjaye Associates stands as a reflection of David Adjaye’s ability to create spaces that are deeply personal yet universally appealing. By blending the historical with the contemporary, the Dirty House remains a significant landmark in Shoreditch, embodying the spirit of its artistic inhabitants while contributing to the urban fabric of the area.
Dirty House Plans
Dirty House Image Gallery
About Adjaye Associates
Adjaye Associates, founded by Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye in 2000, is an acclaimed international architectural firm known for its innovative and diverse approach to design. The firm has gained a reputation for creating culturally sensitive, yet contemporary, architectural solutions that respond to the unique histories and contexts of their locations. With a portfolio that spans across various scales and types of projects, including museums, libraries, private residences, and public spaces, Adjaye Associates’ work is characterized by its creative use of materials, light, and the exploration of the social and cultural dimensions of architecture.
Notes & Additional Credits
- David Adjaye: Living Spaces by David Adjaye and Peter Allison