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Guarnieri Architects ‘remixes’ Victorian house with £2m basement and extension

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A late 19th-century house in Clapham, south London has been transformed by a new basement floor dedicated to ‘wellness’ and a glazed rear addition

This project saw the refurbishment, remodelling and upgrade of a late Victorian house within a conservation area. It included the excavation of a new basement level to accommodate a swimming pool and other facilities, as well as the replacement of the lower rear façade by a fully glazed box, which helped transform the house spatially and flood its interiors with light.

Vic remix guarnieri qjel 33

Vic remix guarnieri qjel 33

Source: Quintin Lake

Architect’s view

The very poor state of repair of this Victorian house gave the opportunity to rethink the way an old building could be upgraded to meet contemporary needs while reducing the environmental impact of the existing building stock.

The client’s brief included the excavation of a new floor below ground level, dedicated to ’wellness’ facilities, which offered the opportunity to rethink, re-lay and remix the spaces of the house.

The client requested large open-plan spaces, achieved through altering the existing split-level arrangement, and relocating and redesigning the stairs accessing all floors. They also asked for a contemporary aesthetic and inclusion of a rear glass structure.

The new basement ’wellness’ floor accommodates a swimming pool that benefits from natural light and view towards the outdoors, in contrast to many projects of this type. The ground floor has been opened up in its lay out, with a kitchen to the front and a dining area to the rear. Other floors accommodate a living room, while more conventionally laid out rooms with bathrooms occupy the upper floors.

The rear of the building was significantly altered. The formerly poorly lit lower floors were converted into light-flooded areas through the addition of a contemporary double-height fully glazed box replacing the external walls. This created a sense of well-being through an unbroken visual connection to the outdoors and the landscaped garden.

The contemporary look and rigorous geometry of the glass structure contrasts with the historical context of the existing Victorian house. The structural concept closely developed with the structural engineer uses very little steel, enhancing the lightness of the glass structure. A series of concealed gutters allows for minimal junctions between the old and the new structure with no additional architectural elements.

By removing rather than adding, we created large open spaces typical of contemporary domestic living. We like to call our project a Victorian Remix, like a DJ rearranging old records into a contemporary performance.

1216 170721 drawing set 2

1216 170721 drawing set 2

Source: Guarnieri Architects

Lower ground and ground floor plans

Project data

Start on site October 2014
Completion December 2016
Gross internal floor area 457m²
Construction cost £2 million
Architect Guarnieri Architects
Structural engineer Malishev Engineers
Environmental consultant Alfonso Senatore
Contract Administrator TCL
Contractor Famella
Specialist glass contractor Cantifix
Specialist pool contractor Ocean Pools
AV specialist contractor Twentytwo Integration

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