Union Wharf by Nicholas Szczepaniak Architects

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Location : Islington, London

Size : 165sqm

Year: 2017

Architects: Nicholas Szczepaniak Architects

Full design service including Concept Design, Detailed Design, Construction Assistance

Photography: © Nicholas Worley


Union Wharf is a mid terrace canal side property built within the footprint of a converted factory building. The aspiration of the project was to transform a dated, underperforming and compromised couple’s dwelling into a contemporary, energy efficient and spatially generous family home. Works consisted of a full refurbishment and remodel of the two storey property including the replacement and extension of an existing roof top conservatory; transforming it from an unusable store room into a habitable space that can be used all year round. The approach throughout the project was to use moderately priced materials, adding value through thoughtful, crafted details and care during execution.

The footprint of the existing conservatory was increased to create a flexible space that can either be used as a guest suite, lounge and/ or study. Located along Regents Canal, the new roof top structure is inspired by canal boats incorporating an enveloping oak and ash interior.

Timber and steel flitched components create structural legibility adding rhythm and texture whilst enhancing the perception of volume. The layered south elevation maximises light, views and enhances connectivity with the terrace and sky.

Inspired by the former industrial use of the building, the material palette of the ground floor  incorporates raw and uncovered finishes such as the original concrete soffit. In contrast to this, elements such as the kitchen, fixtures and fittings are precisely detailed, warm in colour and texture to create a unique material palette with a contemporary yet homely atmosphere.

Bespoke rotating window shutters fabricated from fluted glass provide privacy from users of the canal tow path whilst maximising natural light and views.

The primary living space at ground floor was reconfigured to resolve the disconnection of the kitchen, lounge and dining spaces. A sliding glass partition allows a new playroom to be concealed or connected when appropriate to the main living space.

Nicholas Szczepaniak Architects

© Nicholas Worley
© Nicholas Worley
© Nicholas Worley
© Nicholas Worley
© Nicholas Worley
© Nicholas Worley
© Nicholas Worley
© Nicholas Worley
© Nicholas Worley
© Nicholas Worley
© Nicholas Worley
© Nicholas Worley
© Nicholas Worley

All images courtesy of Nicholas Szczepaniak Architects



Nicholas Szczepaniak Architects


Nicholas Szczepaniak Architects is an RIBA chartered architecture and design practice based in Soho, London, UK.

         Nicholas Szczepaniak           Director and Architect
BA (Hons), DipArch (Dist) ARB, RIBA

Nicholas is a graduate of the University of Newcastle, University of Westminster and the Bartlett, University College London. His thesis project was awarded several awards, notably the RIBA Silver Medal in 2009 and 2011 Archiprix International Award for worlds best graduation project. He was also the recipient of the BD Class of 2009 and Make architects Sustainability Award.His work has been published and exhibited internationally including at the The Royal Academy, London, The Barbican Centre, London, Guggenheim Museum, New York and The Bin Matar House, Bahrain.

Prior to founding NSA, Nicholas gained experience at a number of high profile practices, notably at Heatherwick Studio and Michaelis Boyd Architects where he executed projects varying in scale across residential, cultural, commercial and art sectors.

Nicholas has run design workshops at the Bartlett, UCL and is currently an undergraduate architecture and design tutor at the University of Greenwich, London.


Wen Ying Teh
Project Leader
AA Dip

Ying graduated in architecture at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London where she received her AA Diploma and was awarded First Class Honours for her undergraduate studies. She was the recipient of the Royal Institute of British Architects Presidents Bronze Medal, the oldest RIBA award for World’s Best Graduation Project.

Prior to joining Nicholas Szczepaniak Architects, Ying worked for notable London practices including Heatherwick Studio and ACME where she worked on a range of award-winning commercial projects specialising in retail and hospitality. Most recently, she co-led the Interior design of the award-winning Victoria Gate Arcades in Leeds which won Building of the Year RIBA Yorkshire and RIBA National Award 2017.

Her experience in practice enabled her to develop a particularly strong eye for bespoke finishes and materiality of buildings and spaces. She is equally passionate with the convergence of nature, fashion and architecture.


Zac Higson
Architectural Assistant
BA (Hons)

Zac Higson obtained his first class honours in BA (Hons) Architecture at the University of Greenwich, London. During his time at Greenwich, his projects have touched on a wide range of subject matter including the recycling of biological waste into a usable material, to exploring narratives surrounding currency, counterfeiting and conspiracy. His third year project, Electric Soho, aimed to rejuvenate the lost lighting qualities that were present in Soho in the 1960’s and 70’s. The architectural language was driven by a series of components invented to achieve particular effects and atmospheres, taking inspiration from relevant typologies such as electrical substations to re-energise the streets of Soho.

Zac Higson’s interests lie within the communication of design via different forms of representation, whether that be through drawing, making or designing with a deep consideration of social and cultural context.

Zac Higson gained design experience working for a series of small architecture and graphic design practices based in Manchester, his home city. He has also been exposed to clinical design within the dental industry, working closely with companies such as Castellini, Tavom and RPA Dental.


76 Brewer Street, Soho, London,  W1F 9TX




Nicholas Szczepaniak Architects

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