A Camden workshop rebuilt

This conversion retained its impressive scale and industrial character.

By Charlotte Luxford | 19 April 2021

Competition for building plots in London is fierce. Architect Henning Stummel and film producer Alice Dawson’s search led them to what became the Grand Designs Camden workshop. When they first saw it, the run-down 265 sqm industrial building was a rusting shell between Victorian houses.

Grand Designs Camden workshop roof

Corrugated steel replaces the asbestos roof and gives an industrial look Photo: Rachel Whiting

Demolish and rebuild

The task became harder when the couple took the decision to pull down the trusses that had attracted them to the workshop in the first place. So, they essentially had a new build on their hands. But without any consent to turn it into a home. It took the couple nine months to get planning permission, after producing a convincing case that the building was no longer suitable for industrial use. ‘We fell in love with the workshop and we didn’t want to change it into something else,’ explains Henning. This was no easy task. There were obstacles at every turn and the delicate structure made the couple’s dream of keeping the original steel framework impossible. On the upside, with new trusses in place, the couple were able to save £50,000 on VAT charges.