Alison Brooks Architects has completed a renovation of an 1860s house in North London, including this replacement of a two-storey rear bay
The addition is covered in 260m2 of Corian cladding and, as well as opening up the semi-basement, creates double-height living and kitchen space.
Practice founder Alison Brooks said: ‘This project was a fantastic opportunity to take a highly sculptural approach to a London house conversion and extension that now provides a family home plus workspace.
‘The extensions were designed to draw in light from the sky, embrace the garden, and capture a precise view of the massive walnut tree near the house.’
The design explained
The eight-sided trapezoidal form of the side extension keeps a low profile from the street, rests lightly on the ground with undercut walls to avoid the tree roots, and funnels light into the workspace. A continuation of the extension’s planar geometry, the first floor bay window focuses directly on the walnut tree. Where the side and rear bay window extensions merge, seven surfaces come together at one point. Each trapezoidal plane of the scheme is either fully glazed or fully solid – there are no ‘punched windows’. Both roof and wall planes are one material. This approach creates an architecture without mass and weight, it is more like the folded surfaces of origami.
The complexity of this building geometry demanded a rainscreen cladding material that is very flat, dimensionally stable and which could be cut to precise shapes. Our original scheme proposed pre patinated rigid zinc cassettes, but our client found an even more suitable and durable alternative in Corian. The sheets are absolutely flat, and able to be cut to very precise tolerances with mitred edges where several planes meet. The through colour is stable and therefore offers minimal maintenance. The faceted sides of the building reflect light in varying shades from silver-white to black, depending on the weather. The vented rainscreen system allows for rainwater gutters and downpipes to be concealed underneath the cladding, producing a clean and sculptural architectural form.