Copper House Cambridge, Cambridgeshire Property Photos, Butcher Bayley Architects English Building, Architecture

Copper House Cambridge Property

29 May 2022

Location: Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, southeast England, United Kingdom

Design: Butcher Bayley Architects

Copper House Cambridge, Butcher Bayley Architects

Photos by Matthew Smith

Copper House Cambridge Design

Jury Report

This single storey extension to a Victorian terrace in central Cambridge demonstrates the creative value a good architect can bring to the simplest project.

With space at an expensive premium in the city, this simple housing stock has proven to be adaptive, but needs careful handling to ensure that extension does not throw the older parts of the house into darkness and neglect. What impresses here is that the architects have ensured that the whole house has been considered and integrated into a bravura intervention that opens up the cellular spaces of the original dwelling into a sequence that supports occupation by contemporary family life, with its more complex interactions between work, family, chores and relaxation.

Copper House Cambridge, Butcher Bayley Architects

With limited means, the architects have picked the right elements to focus on, and a strong, responsive working relationship with the client has helped select good materials and critical areas of craftmanship: such as the patinated copper cladding of the external envelope and the Italian terracotta tiles from the client’s native Italy. Light is dropped in at tactical points, dramatizing moments like standing at the sink. The new room opens the house to the garden, bringing the two together in a convincing way, reportedly proving a godsend during the confinement of lockdown.

Copper House Cambridge, Butcher Bayley Architects Copper House Cambridge, Butcher Bayley Architects

As a small domestic project, Copper House has implemented the principles of a fabric-first approach to uplift insulation levels of the dwelling, including the renovated parts and the extension. The construction of the extension mostly utilised a timber frame solution with high levels of insulation to deliver energy efficiency, while the limited decorative use of copper cladding was justified against the offset of using reclaimed bricks. The health and wellbeing of the occupants was a clear driver for this project, while the green roof addition to the extension presented a modest enhancement in local biodiversity.

Copper House Cambridge, Butcher Bayley Architects

Copper House in Cambridge – Building Information

Title: Copper House
RIBA region: East
Architect practice: Butcher Bayley Architects
Date of completion: June 2020
Date of occupation: July 2019
Client: Confidential
Project city/town: Cambridge

Contract value: Confidential
Gross internal area: 127.00 m²
Net internal area: 127.00 m²
Cost per m²: Confidential
Contractor company name: Mark Downs Building Services


Structural Engineers: Cambridge Architectural Research
Building Control: 3C Shared Services


• RIBA Regional Award

Photographs: Matthew Smith

Copper House Cambridge images / information received from the Royal Institute of British Architects

Location: Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, south east England, UK

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