Traditional Meets Contemporary


This project offered an exciting opportunity to imagine and create a highly contemporary single-storey extension to a traditional detached residence. The owners of this secluded home wanted a contemporary family living area that was refined, elegant and minimalist. The solution is clearly distinguishable from, yet harmonious with, the original traditional fabric.

A new minimalist rear extension incorporates an underused courtyard and connects a previously incoherent set of spaces into a single area, casually defined through furniture zones. The exceptional southward views to the mature gardens and countryside beyond create a stunning backdrop.

The concept for the design was a floating horizontal roof plane, whose emphasis would offer a clear counterpoint to the existing building form. Carefully selected materials sit harmoniously with the original fabric. A fine rusted metal mesh forms the leading edge of the roof plane, blending with the existing brickwork. The mesh is backlit, creating a theatrical and dramatic impression in the evenings.

The overhang of the roof plane provides solar shading, taking the edge off excessive solar gain at high sun angles (midday summer sun). During hot summer periods, bespoke sliding doors and a roof light open 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 is preserved within the ‘thermal mass’ of the floor. The floor gives its heat back to the room in the cooler evenings and even into the cooler seasons. By maximising the opportunity of this orientation we reduced the ongoing energy demands on the whole of the property.

We worked closely with the clients in a design-led process to create a refined, sustainable single storey structure, carefully detailed and proportioned. This elegant structure lightly encloses the spaces within and blurs the conventional boundary between interior and exterior. The extension’s appearance was intentionally distinct from and respectful of the original home.

Builder: Watts Construction Ltd.
Build Cost & Date: Undisclosed | 2015
Photography: James French Photography

Designed by former sister company ZinzanSticklandThomas Architects (ZSTa)