Morris + Company has just received planning approval to create a timber extension to Walter Segal’s Highgate residence in London. The transformation aims to revive the original architecture of the house, built by the architect himself in 1965 and introduces a contemporary intervention to the iconic village home.
Located at 9 North Hill, the intervention on the modest, low-lying three-bedroom, two-story detached house, is estimated to start in January 2021 and complete October 2021. Providing a generous home for future generations, while complementing “the defining characteristic of Segals’ prefabricated, modular, timber-framed vernacular, and adopts his principles of efficient, lightweight, sustainable construction”, the suggested scheme by Morris + Company includes a front extension and a timber zig-zagged rear extension.
Joining the house with the street from one side and connecting the structure to the private garden from the other, the proposal takes on a modern and contextual take, preserving Segal’s original architecture. In fact, the entrance is converted into a concealed cloakroom, providing an uninterrupted view of the original brickwork and exposed Segal staircase, while the proposed rear extension will generate new accommodation. Set over two floors, it will hold a ground floor living room with a hearth, a reading room and study, and an upper floor master suite with a dual aspect over the garden.
Inspired by the logic and layout of the original garden and house, Morris + Company has proposed a new whole. Continuing Segal’s original zig-zag route through the main house, the internal composition “reveals glimpses of each on-coming room as you walk through the interior”. According to the designers, “the scheme includes a timber veil of uniformly spaced timber battens that wrap around the building, […] It also includes a textured, aggregated concrete ribbon with high recycled content that wraps the base of the building, to provide a plinth to the house, and a juncture between the timber structure and the earth”.
Following many of Segal’s pioneering construction principles, such as using readily available locally sourced materials, modular, lightweight timber-framed system, and eliminating the need for excessive foundations, the structure allows great flexibility in planning and infinite adaptations and variations in the future. In addition, featuring a composition of varied windows, each defined by the activities within, the design helps bring in natural light during the day, whilst at night, the battens are designed to soften the interior’s lighting, to omit a warm glow and create a lantern-like effect.
- Architect: Morris+Company
- Structural Engineer: Simple Works
- Heritage Consultants: Museum of London Archaeology
- Arboricultural Consultant: PJC Consultancy
- Advisor to Principal Designer: Pick Everard
- Visualizations: Darc Studio
- Model Maker: William Guthrie
- Model Photographer: Jack Hobhouse