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Boxing clever

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Having decided to demolish the previous owner's conservatory to this mid-Victorian villa in Wandsworth, London, the brief to the Pike Practice was in essence to create a glass wall to the back of the house. The work involved was more radical than that implies.

The house's back addition's ground floor has been completely removed, with the structure above supported on steel beams from columns at existing walls that leave columnfree space below. The frame also extends forward into the garden as far as the conservatory once did. The result is a single new space as deep as the rest of the house.

Glazing the outer wall, other glazed slots, a rooflight and clerestory, plus white walls all work together to bring light and a sense of height into this deep space. The clerestory especially opens to the sky toward the garden, helping the roof to 'float'. (The outside view with its deep lead fascia feels more solid. ) The totally glazed wall of the brief has almost emerged. There are marked margins to the frameless double-glazing units and the secure double door is somewhat heavyframed. But the overall sense of transparency is striking.

Wall lights and small spots in the ceiling soffit illuminate, with lighting also on the new outside decking focused on the turquoise party wall finish. Linoleum tiles are used for the floor, Elterwater slate for the worktops, and kitchen units are birch-faced.

Tom Pike reports no planning problems and is optimistic that this is a sea change, that newspaper and TV coverage approving of new architecture is changing sentiment among planners and clients in favour of such modern interventions.


ARCHITECT The Pike Practice: Tom Pike, Leonie Noble

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER Timothy George Structural Engineers





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