Crosby Row

27 Crosby Row was built as a relatively high-status artisan’s house in Bermondsey in the late 18th century. It is one of four remaining buildings on Crosby Row (numbers 21-27) that were constructed between 1770 and 1773, and it was given a Grade II listing in February 2004. The structure to the rear of the building was added later, in the 1880’s, and is not referred to in the listing. The single-story rear spaces at ground level were used historically as warehouse / workshop buildings. Until the early 1980s, they housed vats for boiling eels and were covered with makeshift, uninsulated roofs to protect from rain.

Adam Lowe discovered the house in the 1990s, prior to its listing, when the building was in such a state of ruin that from the basement it was possible to see the sky through the roof. A painter with a young family, Adam restored the property to its current state, carrying out much of the work himself and maintaining as much of the original fabric as possible. He used it as his family home and painting and printing studio. In this reconfiguration and restoration, the key goals are to:

  • Restore the historic grain and fabric of the listed building lost during building work in the 1990s.
  • Remove the out-of-character elements and enclosures introduced in the 1990s and by doing so, create a courtyard amenity space at ground level. Accessible roof gardens are proposed at first and second floor levels.
  • Establish separate and clearly distinct entrances and access routes for the residential and commercial occupants while maintaining a dynamic relationship between live and work.
  • Rationalise and make best use of the existing space in line with local planning objectives.

Given the site and listing constraints, the goal from the outset has been to make minimal architectural interventions with maximum historic integrity, efficiency and elegance.