Structural EngineerHardman Structural Engineers
From the architect. Power House, Paul Archer Design’s refurbishment of a private house in Highbury North London, takes the modernisation of a typical London Victorian terraced house in a new direction with a highly sculptural timber clad rear extension.
Located in close proximity to the entrance of Arsenal Football Club’s original stadium on Highbury Hill, the house was previously the home of the stadium’s grounds man. The front door of the house is painted in the signature red of the Gunner’s home kit as a nod to the house’s history.
The focal point of the new house is a spacious double height kitchen/ diner at the rear of the property, which is created from the interplay of interlocking volumes made of frameless glass panels and linear timber panels.
A structural glass box allows direct sunlight to penetrate deep into the plan. The upper floors of the extension are clad with a skin of Douglas fir battens, which run both inside and out as exterior cladding and interior wall lining, emphasising the interplay between volumes. The cladding extends partially over the glass, patterning the light and providing shading.
A whole new ground floor level has been created beneath the original house. This has an open plan where a variety of activities – cooking, dining and relaxing – can all take place simultaneously in an arrangement that is conducive to 21st century family living. Fully glazed folding doors give direct access to the garden deck.
A glass panel at the end wall of the first floor music/playroom creates a balcony overlooking the main space, flooding light into the original house and making a connection between the two spaces. A glazed sliding door closes off the space when privacy is required.
Wood is put to striking effect in this house and is abundant in all aspects of the scheme from the signature linear cladding, external decking, interior floors, storage spaces disguised as walls and bench seating, and an island unit with breakfast bar that runs the length of the kitchen. The built-in shelving with fold down desks in the children’s playroom is made conspicuous by its bright green hues, providing a strong counterpoint to the natural wood used throughout the house.
The scheme was inspired by the clients' love of the outdoors and a taste for Nordic design. It demonstrates how natural light and materials can be combined to create a backdrop for simple yet stylish contemporary furnishings.