Villa Hush Hush

Client: Confidential

Sector: Residential, Hotel

Cost: Confidential

Status: Concept


Structural Engineers: Atelier One

M&E: Arup / Loren Butt Consultancies

Villa Hush Hush grew out our interest in why it is that people are so attracted to seeing the world, or more importantly their immediate surroundings, from a high vantage point. Would it be possible, we wondered, to create the same effect at a domestic scale?

As is the case with such ideas, it started with no more than the occasional conversation. That changed, however, when we were approached to design a standalone show flat and marketing suite for a prominent new development in the heart of London. The idea that visitors could enter the marketing suite and then be raised up to provide a view over the entire development, seemed to be a perfect match of idea and function.

To give the suite greater presence while reducing its impact on the surrounding area, we decided that the entire building should be raised up above ground level on four supports. Two of these would be fixed, with another providing the necessary access via a spiral staircase around a central circular lift. The fourth, though, would rise out of a deep basement containing a counter-weighted lifting system, allowing a section of the building to be raised some 30 metres above ground level.

The lifting mechanism and overall design had been resolved in some detail when the project was cancelled, but rather than abandon the idea totally we decided to prepare a series of renderings showing the idea in action. Maybe, one day it can be turned into reality.