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fourth_space completes mews house extension in Shoreditch infill site

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The 85m² house, on a infill site in east London, features hand-painted imitation exposed concrete walls

V House covers 85m² over two storeys on a small infill site. It sits within a communal courtyard enclosed by surrounding residential terraces. fourth_space has extended the house and overhauled the interiors, with details including a series of hand-painted imitation exposed concrete walls.

The existing one-bedroom house, which had a oversized ground-floor kitchen/dining space and disconnected living room, has been extended with the addition of another bedroom by infilling the ground-floor areas of the walled courtyard space and areas of flat roof. 

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The volume and height of the new kitchen has been increased with the addition of a sculptural zinc-clad timber roof with a series of rooflights. Designed to mitigate overlooking issues, the roof provides a visual contrast with the brick mews’ materiality.

The house also extends down into the plot with the lower level of bedrooms expressed using rougher, exposed masonry finishes. The upper level of expansive living space is finished in white surfaces and pale timber flooring.

South London decorative arts studio Rag Arts created imitation concrete surfaces downstairs using a hand-finished process, delivering a concrete-like look but without the carbon footprint.

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Architect’s view

The challenge and charm of infill sites is pushing yourselves as architects to see how much you can design and build in a restricted space. Besides being a more cost-effective and sustainable approach, remodelling such buildings and exploring the space that is available often results in unusual, interesting spaces that give the property a distinct and unique character.

In a sense it is precisely the lack of ’enough space’ that forces a heightened awareness about what you are doing as a designer. A residential project such as V House can be successful by allowing ‘the house’ to be seen as a variety of spaces, by taking potential negatives and turning them into positive attributes. 

Individual ‘rooms’ can hereby be designed so that each offers a noticeably distinct experience, by tying their function or use to the peculiarities of its geometry, volume, dimensions or light levels. A bathroom becomes a toplit space with a view of the sky, a bedroom becomes a darker womb-like cave, a living room an open, light-filled pavilion.

Huw Williams, director, fourth_space

Virginia block plan lines

Location plan

Project data

Start on site January 2019
Completion June 2019
Gross internal floor area 81m² (existing: 59m²)
Form of contract or procurement route JCT Intermediate 2016
Construction cost £275,000
Construction cost per m2
Architect fourth_space
Client Private
Structural engineer GL&SS Consulting Engineers
QS KM Dimensions
Main contractor Stem & Agate

Section presentation

Perspective section

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