- Structural Engineer : Lyons O'Neill
- City : London
- Country : United Kingdom
Text description provided by the architects. Located in a Georgian court dating from 1766, this house forms part of a terrace which was bomb damaged during the war resulting in it being partially demolished and substantially rebuilt in the decades since including the front and rear elevations in their entirety. The house had fallen into a state of disrepair prior to the new owners purchasing it and appointing West Architecture in 2013.
We were asked along with a number of other practices to produce a paid feasibility exploring the potential of the existing house and a small workshop to the rear. The feasibility was presented in the form of a large scale model of the main spaces to the lower levels. Here all the main moves and interventions were decided such as the introduction and location of the courtyard.
Retaining only the perimeter walls to the house, garden and a former workshop to the rear, an entirely new structure has been inserted. The house now connects to and encompasses the former workshop, increasing the habitable space and creating an enclosed courtyard. The courtyard provides light and ventilation to living spaces on three levels whilst offering framed views and communication between the individual rooms it unifies.
Materials to new living areas are predominantly fair faced or untreated to reflect the utility of their previous use as a workshop. By lowering the ground level to the rear, the new living spaces have generous ceiling heights ranging from 2.7 metres to 3.8 metres. This is in contrast to the more cellular spaces in the existing house, reinforcing the threshold and sense of discovery to these new, found spaces.
A new third floor has been added providing a master bedroom and terrace linked by a new staircase to a dressing room and bathrooms below within the body of the original house. The existing staircase has also been retained with the original panelling exposed and preserved. At the front of the house timber sash windows replace the previous metal framed windows and generally the facade has been restored to reflect the well preserved period character of the court.
This project aims to use simple materials in their original state with a high level of execution. Standard spruce joists were obtained prior to being tanalised and shaved to remove pencil-round edges before being stained. Exposed structural steelwork was specified to be free of corrosion protection and sealed with a clear wax. With this project we attempted to produce an end result which is crafted and studied, where new spaces contrast with the existing whilst acknowledging their former use and shared history.
The work, which included extensive structural interventions, excavations and large glazed elements was all achieved on an extremely confided site with no vehicle access to the house.