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James Dunnett Architects extends London home with curved picture window

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The reconfiguration and new build is inspired by Le Corbusier’s urban components of ‘sun, space and greenery’

The £310,000 extension sought to rectify an unsuitable interior layout caused by a previous extension – in particular the basement being used as a kitchen/dining room – and bring more natural light and views of greenery into the space.

The existing extension was demolished, and the kitchen/dining room was relocated to garden level, with a new south-facing master bedroom with bathroom above. However the garden is small, and the question was how to get more usable space in the extension without losing space in the garden.

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Barnsbury Square Extension by James Dunnett Architects

The answer was to cantilever out the upper floor, providing shading to the ground-level glazing and some privacy from the housing on the other side of the garden wall. This adjacent housing features generous areas of greenery, providing an attractive outlook from the upper floor of the extension, and the long strip window with 90° radiused bend at the end was intended to allow views for their full length, with a low head retaining privacy internally.

The radiused corner was also intended to ‘unify’ the garden which had previously suffered from a sharp corner creating a cut-off, narrow space. By drawing back the ground floor at that corner and placing a free-standing column, the two arms of this L-shape were encouraged to be read as one, making the garden feel slightly larger – despite being 1m² smaller.

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Barnsbury Square Extension by James Dunnett Architects

Internally there has been a net gain of 10m² in total floor space. The basement has been subdivided to provide a utility room, bathroom and playroom/spare bedroom. The lightweight construction of the upper floor of the extension was consequential on its being cantilevered, and the almost corrugated surface provided by the narrow V-jointed oak boards contrasts with the crispness of the steel windows. 

Project data

Start on site 21 November 2016
Practical completion 24 November 2017
Internal floor area 133m²
Construction cos
Construction cost per m² £2,246 
Form of contract JCT IC 2011
James Dunnett Architects
Drafting assistant Behnaz Berengi
Project engineer Kevin Hallaway
Services engineer Eng Design
Project services engineer Martin Dow
Quantity surveyor Sawyer and Fisher
Project surveyors Steven Scammell, George Neville
Main contractor Building Designs
Building Inspector Islington Council
CAD software used AutoCAD Architecture 2017 

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