North London Residential Building, English Property Design, New House Material
Residential Extension North London
New Property Expansion: Contemporary House, UK design by Alison Brooks Architects
24 Jun 2014
Lens House, London
Design: Alison Brooks Architects
Updated Images of North London Property Extension
Alison Brooks Architects has extended a nineteenth century house in north London with two tapered volumes that project into the garden. The first volume wraps around the brick walls at the side and rear of the house to create a home office, while the second volume extends out at the back to increase the size of the first floor living room. The extensions are part of an overall transformation of a classic Victorian semi-detached villa for a client involved in photography and design.
The extension was designed as a series of large apertures framed and connected by large trapezoidal planes. These openings capture light throughout the day, draw the garden into the house, and frame precise views of a spectacular walnut tree.
Each plane of the scheme is either fully glazed or fully solid, there are no punched windows. This approach creates an architecture without mass and weight. It is more like the folded surfaces of origami. Where the side and rear projections converge, seven surfaces come together at one point.
To achieve the low profile of the ten-sided trapezoidal office extension, ABA lowered the existing basement and excavated a new sunken courtyard to form a street-facing office entrance. This new lower ground floor level connects workspace and house. On the garden side, the building rests lightly on the ground with undercut walls to avoid the walnut tree’s roots. Inside, the rooflight geometry funnels light into the workspace throughout the day. A roof terrace cuts into one of the roof, generating a light reflecting plane and heightening the sense of suspended surfaces.
The living room’s projecting bay window focusses on the walnut tree like a picture frame. It also pulls light from above into the living room through a segment of its roof. Beneath the bay window a new wall of glass slides open to link the dining room with a small patio outside. From here a concealed door creates a second entrance to the office.
Where the original living room once was, ABA has opened a new double height volume. This space draws south light deep into the house, and like a ‘great hall’, creates a powerful visual connection between the original upper ground floor entrance hall and kitchen/dining space. The folded geometries of the extensions continue into the house to become surfaces punctuated by steel fireplaces, a cantilevered kitchen and other ‘inhabited walls’; a variety of framed settings for modern family life.
Photography : Paul Riddle
18 Oct 2012
North London Residential Property
Design: Alison Brooks Architects
North London Residential Extension
DuPont™ Corian® forms an impressive facade for a new residential design by Alison Brooks Architects
October 2012 – Discreet from street level behind an 1860 North London house sits a spectacular new extension designed by Stirling Prize winning Alison Brooks Architects. An angular projection of dynamic shapes and planes, the structure is distinguished not only by its creative vision, but also by the use of DuPont™ Corian® to form a striking rain screen façade.
Extension by Alison Brooks Architects, to the rear of a North London residential property, featuring a rain screen façade made from DuPont™ Corian® hi-tech surface:
photo Jake Fitzjones for DuPont. All rights reserved
A jigsaw of geometric elements, these sleek panels of Corian® clad the exterior of the addition, providing both aesthetic fascination and durable functionality. The new structure is designed to give a threefold enhancement to the property: an open plan kitchen/dining space with sliding glass doors at garden level, a cantilevered expansion of the living space above this, opening to a terrace which partially rests over the spacious new garden level home office, which also has its own entrance from a stepped-down patio at the front of the house.
The specification for the cladding was originally for zinc, but at the request of the client and home owner, this was switched to Corian® – the multi-talented material which is increasingly being used to create distinctive, high-performance ventilated facades. Offering longevity, versatility, good fire-rating, UV resistance in selected colours and low maintenance, Corian® is lightweight and easily workable – and should any damage occur, can be repaired. Completely solid, non-porous and homogenous, Corian® confidently weathers a range of climatic conditions and is compatible with a variety of fixing systems.
The client purchased the property as derelict in 2007, immediately seeing the potential within the intended renovation for the demolition of a previous extension and the rebuilding of entirely new structure to serve the family’s needs and add considerable value.
The client comments, “The brief to the architects was wide open – we gave them a volume and budget – replace a two story rear bay extension and add an impressive side extension. The biggest challenges were the position of a 150-year-old walnut tree with Tree Preservation Order and a Victorian sewer running through the back garden, but otherwise the presentation to the planning department was very smooth. Alison Brooks Architects did an amazing job researching and developing the design and it was accepted with only a single minor change.”
In all 260 square metres of Corian® in the Blackberry Ice colour choice was templated, then cut to individual panel sizes on site (the largest section using a standard full sheet of 760x3658mm) and installed using an adhesive system specifically formulated for aluminium rails, dressing the water tight structure. Off-cuts of the material were then taken back for use in training and other creative or sponsored projects, such as a donation of material to create new signage for the Multiple Sclerosis Centre.
The client has taken a keen and active role in the decisions around the project and the choice of a façade in Corian® came after some personal research: “The original design was for zinc rainscreen cladding but this had a vulnerability if knocked – and as the cladding is predominantly at ground level, I felt there was a strong likelihood of it getting accidentally damaged. As soon as I saw the Seeko’o Hotel in Bordeaux on the Corian® website, I knew this solid material would suit the strong geometry and structure of the design that Alison Brooks Architects had created – the colour we chose matched the slate zinc grey previously specified. I couldn’t be happier with the end result… bold, strong lines and a sleek, solid appearance.”
Alison Brooks comments, “This project was a fantastic opportunity to take a highly sculptural approach to a London house conversion and extension that now provides a family home plus workspace. In addition to a full structural renovation, opening up the semi-basement and creating a double height living/kitchen space, the extensions were designed to draw in light from the sky, embrace the garden, and capture a precise view of the massive walnut tree near the house.
The eight-sided trapezoidal form of the side extension keeps a low profile from the street, rests lightly on the ground with undercut walls to avoid the tree roots, and funnels light into the workspace. A continuation of the extension’s planar geometry, the first floor bay window focuses directly on the walnut tree. Where the side and rear bay window extensions merge, seven surfaces come together at one point. Each trapezoidal plane of the scheme is either fully glazed or fully solid – there are no ‘punched windows’. Both roof and wall planes are one material. This approach creates an architecture without mass and weight, it is more like the folded surfaces of origami.
The complexity of this building geometry demanded a rainscreen cladding material that is very flat, dimensionally stable and which could be cut to precise shapes. Our original scheme proposed pre patinated rigid zinc cassettes, but our client found an even more suitable and durable alternative in Corian®. The sheets are absolutely flat, and able to be cut to very precise tolerances with mitred edges where several planes meet.
The through colour is stable and therefore offers minimal maintenance. The smooth finish of Corian® means that the faceted sides of the building reflect light in varying shades from silver-white to black, depending on the weather. The vented rainscreen system allows for rainwater gutters and downpipes to be concealed underneath the cladding, producing a clean and sculptural architectural form.”
For further information about Alison Brooks Architects: www.alisonbrooksarchitects.com
To book a RIBA approved CPD seminar on Solid Surfaces for Rain Screen Facades or for further commercial or technical information about DuPont™ Corian® in the UK:
T: 0800 962 116 E:[email protected] www.corian.co.uk
North London Residential Extension images / information from Corian®
Location: Belsize Park, London, England, UK
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