Peckham Glass Box, Southwark House Extension, South London Residential Property, Architecture Development Images
Peckham Glass Box in Southwark
10 Nov 2021
Design: Unagru Architecture Urbanism
Location: Peckham, Southwark, London, England, UK
Peckham Glass Box Extension
Peckham Glass Box is a contemporary extension of a Victorian terrace home, located in London, UK.
Unagru Architecture Urbanism’s client needed to extend the home to make room for their young family, by adding a side and rear extension it offered the additional living space they needed on the ground floor.
We introduced glazing to make the interior as bright as possible. Often a rear extension makes the middle of the house dark and uninviting, additional the existing house had a very low ceiling internally, making it feel dark and claustrophobic, bringing light into the home was a critic aspect of the design.
The side extension takes the home up to the party wall, transforming the once dank, underused outside space into an internal, open plan dining area for the family to enjoy with a large skylight overhead.
The rear extension is designed as a contemporary, frameless glass box, this achieves maximum brightness and connectivity with the garden.
The space has been completed with bespoke, low level, window seats following the line of the box. This offers a place to sit and enjoy the space, it also is designed as additional storage which is essential for a young family.
What was the brief?
Unagru were approached by Tom and Helen to help with the remodelling and expansion of their Victorian terrace house in Peckham, London. Although the existing house was very well presented the family were starting to outgrow it, especially since to arrival of their second child. As the family they did not want to move, so they were keen to look into ways to improve their existing home to meet their changing needs.
The two main aspects the client wanted to resolve were to add additional living space to the house, and to transform the kitchen into a spacious, open plan room, flooded with natural daylight. The placement of the existing kitchen was located in the centre of the house and was blocked by the utility room from natural daylight, making it dark and uninviting and isolated from the rest of the house.
What were the key challenges?
One of the main constrains with the original space was the low ceiling height, making the space feel oppressive. We looked into how we might be able to solve this in an easy and cost effective way. We initially had hoped to be able to lower the floor level, but after investigating the existing foundations they were found to be too shallow, which did not allow for the extra headroom without a very expensive and time-consuming challenge in structural design. We resolved the issue through careful redesigning, expressing the consistency of the ceiling level by extending it through to the garden to visually incorporate the outside into the living space, giving the interior the open feeling the clients were after.
Through careful negotiation with the neighbour we were able to gain a few, valuable centimetres to the width of the extension. This was achieved by pushing the party wall onto the property boundary, with the neighbours consent, this amendment to the design gained extra width for the large skylight, crucially drawing more light internally.
With the existing ceiling level we were able to enhance the feeling of space through simplicity in the design, opted for pale interior colours, avoiding the use of spotlights (expect in the kitchen zone) and aligning the ceiling line to the glazing and the garden. These simple design changes have created a warmth to the home, enhanced by the natural texture of timber flooring under the sunlight.
The introduction of the glazing into the extension and side return has totally transformed the building, delivering the home the clients dreamed of, however it also brought concerns and difficulties to the budget and delivery of the project.
After much research and thought we finally opted to work with a glass installer who we had previously worked with, although not to this degree on complexity. We all worked very hard to make sure that everyone was up to the challenge, with several meetings on site, checking of dimensions and drawings, and correcting any issues that arose, at one point a door had to be reproduced as the door arrived onsite with the opening on the wrong side, due to a subcontractor error.
Our last concern with the layout of the extension was the distance between the kitchen and garden, with the playroom / sitting room placed at the rear of the property it could create a barrier if designed badly. Through the open plan design, large glazing to the rear, large skylights above, it has brought the much needed visually connectivity between the kitchen and the sky and outside.
What were the solutions?
Our plan added a side and rear extension, with a large glazed frameless ‘box’ off the rear elevation, designed as a frameless glass box, to achieve maximum brightness. This created space to reimagine the home, opening up the rear of the house to deliver the much-desired spacious kitchen at the centre of the house.
To draw the much-needed daylight into the home there we introduced the full glazed rear elevation, additionally a large skylight runs the full length of the side return which brings the light into the centre of the home. These interventions have transformed the house, delivering the bright living space the clients desired.
Initially we had envisaged the rear glazed area as a dining zone, but the client had decided they wanted to place the dining table adjacent to the kitchen. Though further discussions we reimagined this area as an informal playroom / sitting room.
How is the project unique?
The juxtaposition of the ultra modern glass box, adjacent to the traditional terrace house works perfectly together.
Internally we have paid such attention to detail to create a really special home. To highlight the differences between the zones within the open plan area, we chose finishes and colouring so separate. In the kitchen we have a very interesting and classic combination of dark wall, traditional tiles and a contemporary bright blue kitchen. We installed a dramatic wall light as a threshold between the playroom-sitting room and dining-kitchen, as a key focal point to the room.
The threshold between the existing and the extension is treated as a metaphorical small walled garden: a change in floor finish marks the change in use, while a large mirror on the party wall reflects the sky and garden throughout to the rest of the house, creating an effect of otherness, as well as further increasing brightness and colour in the original dwelling. We also installed a large black board for the children in this area, adding additional texture and playfulness.
Peckham Glass Box in Southwark, London – Building Information
Architect practice: Unagru Architecture Urbanism
Completion date: 2018
Building levels: 2
photos: Attilio Fiumarella
Peckham Glass Box, Southwark images / information received 101121
Location: Peckham, Southwark, London, England, United Kingdom
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