An exciting opportunity to imagine and create a highly contemporary extension to a traditional and substantial detached residence.
The owners of this secluded private home wished to extend the current kitchen to take full advantage of panoramic views available, southwards across the open countryside. The clients wanted to create a contemporary family living area that was a refined, elegant and minimalist, clearly distinguishable from the original fabric of the building and yet harmonious by way of counterpoint.
The existing rear living room was under-utilised by the family because of its distance and separation from the remaining social spaces, despite offering excellent views to the south of the mature gardens and countryside. An adjacent courtyard which provided opportunity for outside dining was similarly not taken full advantage of, mainly due to the weather!
Over the years the original house had benefitted from a number of organic extensions which were small scale in nature. All of these extensions read as if they are part of the original house and camouflage themselves, to a degree, through careful detailing and use of materials. The exception to this was the most recent rear extension, from 2001, which replaced a previous conservatory structure. This room, conceived as a flexible family space, appeared inconsistent with the house due to the shallow pitch of the roof, the large run of white UPVC glazing and the overall projection of this element onto the rear patio.
We proposed the demolition of the incongruous family room extension, replacing it with a new minimalist open plan space to extend across the rear of the house, incorporating the current outdoor courtyard. The proposal would serve to link a currently incoherent set of spaces (kitchen, family room & courtyard) to become a single area, casually defined through furniture zones, and all bound by the exceptional southward views to the mature gardens and countryside beyond.
As the views were to the south we designed the extension to benefit from passive solar gain working in conjunction with high ‘thermal mass’ floors and balanced this with the need to shade against over-heating and passive ventilation for cooling. The architects therefore sought to maximise the opportunity of this orientation and reduce the ongoing energy demands on the whole of the property.
The concept for the extension was a floating horizontal roof plane, whose emphasis would offer clear counterpoint to the existing building form. Yet the materials were carefully selected to sit well with the original, a fine rusted metal mesh forms the leading edge of this roof plane and blends well with the existing brick work. Back-lighting the mesh in the evenings creates a theatrical and dramatic impression.
The overhang of the roof plane was to provide solar shading, taking the edge off excessive solar gain at high sun angles (midday summer sun). Furthermore, during these hot summer periods, bespoke sliding doors and a roof light aperture could also be opened to create cross-ventilation through the space. During other times of the year the lower angle of the sun can penetrate to the interiors and its heat will be preserved within the ‘thermal mass’ of the floor. The floor will give its heat back to the room in the cooler evenings and even into the cooler seasons.
Our Architects work closely with the clients in a design-led process to create a refined, sustainable single storey structure, carefully detailed and proportioned. This elegant structure was designed to lightly enclose the spaces within and using transparency to blur the conventional boundary of interior and exterior. The appearance was intentionally distinct from the rest of the house, respecting the authenticity of the original home.