Tate Harmer has converted the grade II* listed Belsize Fire Station in north London into energy-efficient apartments. On the lower levels, open-plan dwellings face onto private garden spaces. Additional accommodation with vaulted ceilings and dormer windows has been inserted into the second floor. The listed interior spaces contain original features, such as timber panelling, white glazed bricks, fire-man poles and double-height spaces for the fire engine bays.
All the apartments are dual aspect to maximise cross ventilation and daylighting. The open-plan living rooms and kitchens are orientated south and flooded with natural light. Existing glazed bricks have been left exposed to increase thermal mass.
Ground, first and second-floor plans
External alterations have been kept to a minimum to retain the original character of the building. Improvements have been made to the insulation levels in the roof, basement floor and most of the external walls. Airtightness level has been increased throughout.
The building employs a communal heating system with heat interface units in each apartment. This eschews the need for individual gas connections or ventilation outlets, which in turn helps to preserve the sensitive building fabric. The heating system is also highly efficient, reducing carbon emissions, building management costs, and occupants’ heating bills. Water use is reduced through the use of low-flow taps and dual-flush toilets.