One of the world’s leading art collectors wants to demolish a Thirties townhouse in a central London conservation area to build a modern 8,729sq ft, seven-storey “iceberg house” with the lower three levels hiding an underground swimming pool, spa and games rooms.
Turkish industrialist Halit Cingillioglu’s hobby is collecting masterpieces, including works by Matisse and Modigliani. His proposed “modular” glass house, north of Hyde Park among rows of fine Georgian and Regency houses, will have a roof garden and a spiral staircase running the full height of the property, visible through a glass wall. The 8,729 sq ft property will also include a top-floor master bedroom, four further bedrooms, plus a basement complex including a “nanny suite”, wine cellar, car lift and cinema.
John Zamit, head of the South East Bayswater Residents Association, says there is broad support for the scheme. “Usually we are very Prince Charles traditional but this is quite an interesting-looking glass box,” he said. The issue is that the building’s many windows mean that Mr Zamit fears neighbouring houses may be overlooked. “But we are not against it in principle,” he said. “The existing building is slightly out of character with the area, so we would certainly consider this one.”
Mr Cıngıllıoğlu, 59, who is married with two children, comes from one of Turkey’s wealthiest families, and has banking interests around the world. He has been collecting artworks since childhood and ARTnews recently named him as one of the world’s top ten collectors, with pieces ranging from impressionist, modern, post-war and contemporary art. He is a member of the Advisory Council of Sotheby’s auction house.
Westminster Council is expected to rule on whether Mr Cıngıllıoğlu can build his modern house later 2013. Mr Cıngıllıoğlu was unavailable for comment.