Engineering: CBS Engineering
Landscape: Michael Coley
Main Contractor : MPRM
Text description provided by the architects. Harefield Road East - A planted courtyard sits centrally within the ground floor plan, offering an integral urban oasis to a South London semi-detached house. The client, a family of three, had just returned after living for a period of time in Sydney when Gruff Architects were approached to refurbish and extend their Victorian semi in South London. Keen to recreate the benefits of the outside lifestyle and warmer climate they had experienced abroad, whilst incorporating their mixed heritage into the design, the client instilled Malaysian, British and Australian influences into the brief. Set in the Brockley Conservation Area, the extension includes a kitchen, utility and dining space for the family and focuses on creating a connection to the leafy garden.
Gruff’s design focuses on a centrally planted courtyard which sits between the original house and new extension, connecting the two elements together and bringing natural light and soft planting into the heart of the building. Working with Michael Coley Garden Design, the planting features neutral, evergreen and hardy plants for longevity as well as larger pieces to add focus, such as the tree fern. Toward the rear of the extension, a section of corner glazing further punctures the centre of the building, allowing direct sunlight and more visible planting to enter the floor plan. Study spaces, mirrored either side of the internal courtyard, look out onto the planting and provide a visual relationship between both the existing and new architecture as well as the internal and external environments all year round, without the need to open doors or windows. In warm weather, however, the timber glazing allows for the space to be opened up to the planted areas and encourages cross-ventilation to naturally cool the home.
A combination of natural timbers, exposed grey brickwork and pockets of glazing appear both inside and out, blurring the thresholds and creating a calming environment. New openings combined with glazed partitions, create a light and inviting environment across the whole house and a statement pitched roof frames a full-length flat rooflight to the ridge of the extension, creating views up to the sky from within the dining area.