The project brief was to extend the end of terrace house in order to provide a new kitchen and garden area. The existing protected structure is a centre hall, double fronted building with two well proportioned rectilinear rooms at upper ground floor level. The design for the rear elevation, as well as the plan, evolved out of a desire for the new extension to have a conversation with the existing house. While the prevailing response to the program of the rear kitchen extension is to create a project which is insistently different, we believe a more powerful and challenging solution is possible through material, constructional, and formal dialogue with the existing building.
Our ambition was to extend in a way which participated in the existing logic of the house as a collection of complete rooms around a stair by providing an additional well proportioned room perpendicular to those existing. Here the extension’s deep façade is made with similar bricks laid in the same bonding as the original house. Its open symmetry with the wider central bay plays off the closed symmetry of the rear wall of the house with its dominant central stair window.
The step in ceiling height from the existing into the new extension is articulated in the exposed steel angle which rings the new room as a structural cornice line making explicit the structural intervention into the existing structure. Above this line, the exposed American Douglas Fir joists are tightly spaced to allow for an extremely slender structural build up. Below this line the room is lined with white – white stained birch veneer that adds depth and variation to the wall surfaces, as well as white terrazzo floors and counters. This room is then given a thick colonnaded façade which creates a deep threshold space to the garden, framing the view and inviting passage. The clients’ request for a timber screen for the winter months resulted in the central columns being pushed into the room to pick up the structural cornice and allowing the retractable shutters to slide between the outer and inner columns. These shutters, which were CNC routed with a Penrose pattern, create a dialogue between a delicate ornamental timber ‘curtain’ and an austere brick structure that is transformed from four to two columns as they close. The Douglas Fir ceiling is reflected in the external screens and the bespoke table, designed by the architect, also in the same material.
Highly Commended 2011 RIAI Awards, Special Mention 2011 AAI Awards
Additional photography by Mark Scott.
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