Situated on a large site in Chelsea, one of London’s most beautiful and historic districts, the Glebe Project provides an opportunity of extraordinary magnitude. At the center of the site is an old school, which, since its construction almost 100 years ago, has been out of scale with its immediate surroundings. The design strategy allows the project to fit gracefully and subtly into the neighborhood, in a way that the old school never did, and enhances, rather than detracts from, the remarkable urban texture of Chelsea. The old school represents good bones and considerable character; by mandate, it is an integral part of the project.
The scheme introduces a new wall between the Northeast and Northwest towers, replacing the weakest and most awkward part of the existing building. The new wall, connected at the precise location of the now-removed existing one, contains, at its center, a new entry tower and a dramatic projecting entrance canopy. The new tower, entrance canopy, and the mysteriously luminous object – a car elevator, which enables the seamless and graceful integration of the car into the building – combined with a generous new landscape, complete a carefully-calibrated set piece intended to transform the building and its image: from school to apartment, from old to new, from solid and a bit awkward to elegant and even cool.