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Quay House

Background and Brief

The disused 280m2 milk depot was bought by Ken Taylor and Julia Manheim as a place to live and work from. The building was brick with steel trusses spanning 10 metres and a solidly built cold store internally on the North side to the rear. The main reason for it falling into disrepair was that the roof leaked and remained uninsulated. There was an immediate idea that a building, which would become Quay House, could be built over the front half of the shed.


In replacing the back half of the roof, the overall plan was to have the private spaces, including a courtyard created by demolishing some leaking outbuildings, to the rear. The more public spaces, studio and workshop, were located at the front towards the street. The initial work was to build four ‘Beach Huts’ on top of the cold store, fitting between the trusses, to create three bedrooms and a bathroom. This iconography gave the design theme for the building as there was an enjoyment of ‘between spaces’, between land and sea, thresholds, fun, colour, weathering, being at the seaside in Peckham! Phase 2 was the building over the front half of the building of 3 flats with its own separate entry staircase now known as Quay House.


Interior / Photograph by Edmund Sumner


Streetscape / Photograph by Anthony Coleman


Finished building in context / Photograph by Anthony Coleman


Courtyard, Main living space / Photograph by Anthony Coleman


‘Milk Bottle’ wall and view of ‘Beach huts’, ‘Boardwalk’ and garden / Photograph by Anthony Coleman


Kitchen ground floor residence / Photograph by Anthony Coleman


Common stair and top flat living space / Photograph by Anthony Coleman


Artists impression / Drawing by Ken Taylor


Milk Depot, Feb 1998


Interior, Feb 1998

Quay House

Client /

Ken Taylor / Julia Manheim

Project /

2c Kings Grove, Peckham, SE15
Conversion of Ex Milk Depot into Residence,
Design Studio, Sculpture Studio + 3 flats.

Date /

February 1998 – December 2002

Budget /

Phase 1;90,000 Phase 2; 350,000

Further Info /

Quay House Fact Sheet (pdf)

Evening Standard Article (pdf)

New York Time Article (webpage)

Channel 5 ‘I own Britain’s Best Home’ (watch online) London’s Contemporary Architecture - An Explorer’s Guide, by Ken Allison (pdf)

/ 2c Kings Grove, Peckham, London SE 15 2NB / T 0207 771 1600 / E