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small projects 2002

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Now in its seventh year, the AJ Small Projects competition proves what can be achieved with limited funds. The domestic projects shown here, and next week's round-up of non-residential projects, were all completed for less than £250,000. Selected schemes will be exhibited at the RIBA in April

MAGYAR MARSONI ARCHITECTS The brief called for a residence in west London in which the ground floor would serve as a living/gallery area, with living spaces on the lower ground floor level. The client liked the architectural features of the original building and wished to preserve as much of these as was practical in the new design. She also saw that by removing various existing partitions and fixtures, much of the true potential of the apartment would be revealed. It would also enhance views of the garden and intake of natural light as well as improving the use of the available volume. The architect's approach has therefore been to introduce a minimum number of modern interventions to help create a light, spacious and contemporary habitat, without compromising the existing shell. The QS was SP Mitchell Associates, structural engineer Fidler Associates and the main contractor Ash Construction.

Contract value: £140,000

HIGGINS GARDNER & PARTNERS This Edwardian house in north London required general refurbishment and the replacement of a lean-to kitchen. The client wanted a new scheme which contrasted with the existing house and provided extra space. The building footprint was extended to the neighbour's boundary, and a sense of space produced by a new floor-to-ceiling double-glazed screen overlooking the garden, the extension of the ceramic floor as an outdoor terrace, and a sandblasted glass skylight over the centre of the kitchen.Under-counter storage has been omitted and kitchen equipment is located away from the principal garden vista so that the kitchen can function as an extension of the adjacent dining and living rooms for entertaining purposes. The engineer was Stephen Haskins and the contractor was Tallis Building Contractors.

Cost: £49,200

PAUL ARCHER DESIGN A restrained exterior hides a modern courtyard of terracotta. The listed building has been carefully restored and a thoroughly modern interior respectfully added. The extension, for a director of a glass company, uses the latest in glass technology. The structural glazing provides an outdoor room as a complete contrast to the darker spaces of the older house. The glass slides into the original stonework with minimal visual interruption of the mass of the original stone gable. The structural engineer was Fluid and the project was self-build.

Cost: £35,000

GEOFFREY REID ASSOCIATES The brief was to provide a more informal living area in this house in Renfrewshire, Scotland, and allow enjoyment of the garden.The first of two elements provides shower and utility rooms that take on the character of the house - smooth white render and white roof. A second element, the living area, slides to an offset position, centring the room on the rear gable of the house and permitting a slot window overlooking the main entrance. A minimal portal of steel supports the zinc roof; the fence to the drive is ebony-stained timber, with the rear wall clad in a more informal untreated red cedar.The contractor was W&A Scott Balfron.

Cost: £50,000

DUFFY & BATT A 1930s Basil Spence garage in Edinburgh - his first commercial project - has been transformed into a 260m 2galleried loft apartment. The apartment comprises a self-contained studio flat;

a 95m 2living space with a striking cantilevered dining table; kitchen and utility space concealed behind a sliding wall designed to accommodate a Bellany triptych; en suite master bedroom; and a further bedroom and study area providing access to the roof terrace. Harley Haddow was the engineer.

Contract value: £150,000

EMBRACE DESIGN This 1920s house, set in a magnificent site near Liege in Belgium, has typical period elements and these have informed the concept of the extension: simple volumes with emphasis on horizontals and glazing. The extension has three parts: a long volume anchors a zinc-clad pavilion at either end.The front pavilion signals the extension; the double-height glazed back pavilion ties the entire house into the site and landscape.

Cost: £150,000

EGER ARCHITECTS This garden pavilion in Clapham transforms a typical back garden into part of a sequence of interconnected internal and external spaces - from the front garden, through the house, the water garden, pavilion and Japanese garden beyond. The pavilion was commissioned to accommodate a studio and a guest room. The upturned roof emphasises the dual aspect of the pavilion. Water in both external gardens reflects light off the undersides of the roof into the interior, creating constantly changing patterns of light. The building is lightweight and sits on a raft foundation, leaving the boundaries of the adjacent gardens untouched. The highly insulated timber-framed structure provides a heat-efficient envelope to reduce energy consumption.

Cost: £65,000

PJMP ARCHITECTS An extension to a two-bedroom nineteenth century cottage in East Lothian provides two extra bedrooms, a first-floor bathroom, a family room and utility space. The planning authority insisted on a repetition of the original cruciform roof of the existing cottage.The extension repeats the form and scale of the cottage, encapsulating the rear flat roof extension while expressing the junction with the old building by means of a glazed link. A new staircase, within this link, gives access to old and new first floors. A large sunroom at ground floor level is now a major public room enjoying the best views. Timber frame was chosen on grounds of cost and appropriateness to the design concept.Glazed panels between doubled studs at 1,000mm centres allow maximum light into the ground floor space.

Cost: £60,000

CHARLES BARCLAY The client, a poet and gardener living in an Oxfordshire farmhouse, collects Renaissance sculpture. The extension houses a sixteenth century French chimneypiece in Caen stone previously installed in the Whitney mansion, New York, and provides a large new living/library space with a mezzanine bedroom and bathroom. The double-height space is illuminated by a two-storey window overlooking the garden and by a rooflight; a bridge connects the mezzanine back to the first floor of the old house. The mezzanine can either be open to the larger volume or screened off by means of two sliding panels that retract into the central wall. A gallery allows close inspection of the bas reliefs on the upper part of the chimneypiece. The ground floor, completely open as a display area, is finished with reclaimed slate slabs; the upper level has a red Jarrah wood floor. The structural engineer was Michael Hadi Associates.

Cost: £240,000

ARCHITYPE This two-bedroom ecological house occupies the rear half of a 15m x 12m former car-breaking yard in a north London neighbourhood of grand Victorian villas. Although built up to the boundaries of the adjoining gardens, the curved planted roof minimised overshadowing. Large sliding doors face the exotically planted garden. A long curved rooflight and glass-block panels suffuse the house with light without overlooking neighbouring gardens.

Embodied energy is half that of conventional construction, reduced by using recycled and natural materials such as newspaper insulation and linoleum flooring.Ellis & Moore was the structural engineer and Koya was the contractor.

Cost: £130,000

KENNEDY O'CALLAGHAN ARCHITECTS The house in Notting Hill, London, was built in 1959 with an integral garage.The brief was to remove the garage, extend the reception room and improve the front elevation. Alterations were carefully detailed to complement the existing facade and create a seamless composition.The project included a new front door and picture window constructed in oak.

The curved timber cladding is reflected internally in the design of the entrance lobby.

Cost: £60,000

JEFF KAHANE + ASSOCIATES 2in a penthouse loft flat in Clerkenwell centred around the replacement of a cramped 'catalogue'staircase. The insertion of a cantilevered oriel window 4.5m high eliminates the previous sense of claustrophobia within the stairwell and draws in extra daylight via ten new coloured glass panels which are back-lit at night. Reversing the direction of the original stairs opened up space for an entrance lobby and wall-hung racing bike, as well as enhancing the sense of flowing movement up the new helical staircase to the loft itself. Stair treads are extended in key locations to generate ledges and landings, and their shapes complemented by other parts of the design, including a serpentine Corian breakfast bar with views of St Paul's through portholes.The joiner was Roy Harris.

Cost: £48,000

ALLFORD HALL MONAGHAN MORRIS An extension to a family house in Wandsworth, south London, incorporates the requirement for a simple and economical structure with the ambition to create a generous space in which to entertain. The existing ad-hoc kitchen and ancillary spaces at the back of the house were replaced by a single timber-framed enclosure occupying the full width of the site. This kitchen/dining space opens up to the refurbished garden via a wall of sliding/folding glass doors, allowing both to become a single space during good weather. In contrast, the existing former dining room is transformed into a 'snug'seating area at the centre of the house.

Cost: £60,000

KNOTT ARCHITECTS The architect has remodelled and refurbished an apartment within a listed Regency building in Brighton. The stateliness of the principal room sets very high ceiling heights throughout and the remodelling of the remaining spaces takes full advantage of this, allowing additions on two levels. A two-storey pod houses a kitchen below and bathroom above.The pod is sculpted in polished Venetian plaster and where this skin is interrupted, the surface curls inwards towards the glass infill. A major vista has been opened up through the apartment, providing views of the sea from many positions.The engineer was Bedford Eccles Partnership and the contractor was Aldridge Building Services.

Contract sum: £112,000

CHILD GRADDON LEWIS This area of London's Kensington High Street has some of the highest housing densities in the country and space is extremely limited. Previously, a single floor spanned over ground floor car parking on the site - more inspiring dwellings were needed and the result is these two mews houses. Windows could only be provided in the front elevation, so the design placed the main living accommodation to the first floor, flooding the interior from the curved south-facing light scoop. Light penetrates the ground floor through a second rooflight over the staircase along the back wall.Externally the architect has taken a more subtle approach to the typical multicoloured mews house, matching the lower front wall of the courtyard elevation and painting the upper walls in different shades of lilac, to complement the lead roofs.

Cost: £180,000

ROBERT IAN BARNES ARCHITECTS The client bought the unit as a residential shell on the first floor of a converted factory. A new steel mezzanine with balustrade and stair was added to provide a study and access to storage areas overhead. Bespoke metal sliding shoji screens provide privacy on the mezzanine to the void above the bath and disguise storage areas. A new metal structure/bookcase for storing the client's books and objects d'art runs the length of one wall; it has fully adjustable shelves fabricated and perforated by laser cutting sheet steel which sit on rubber-sleeved moveable pins. A moving stair provides access to all shelves. Beams and metal elements were designed as composites of steel profiles to allow clear junctions. Existing structure is painted red, new elements are black. The structural engineer was Buro Happold; the main contractor was Imperial Property Maintenance; and the specialist metalwork contractor was Greenwood Metalwork.

Cost: £114,500

LITTMAN GODDARD HOGARTH The architect completed a radical transformation of a large, damp and dark basement flat in west London into a spectacular modern apartment. By turning the corridor into a kitchen, the original kitchen space became available to make a further bedroom. The problem of lack of light was solved by using white poured rubber floors, computer controlled lighting and many other innovative products. In the area where there was no natural light, a colour-changing corridor was installed. The main contractor was Ash Construction.

Cost: £120,000

ATELIER MLM The clients commissioned the architect to design a garden pavilion with an artist's studio and home office at their listed rectory near Chichester. The circular form evokes a gatehouse and acts as a foil to the adjoining buildings. It enters into a visual dialogue with the octagonal bedroom wing of the rectory and the square pitched roof garage.The siting also provides a view over the lake to Chichester Cathedral and enjoys afternoon and evening sun. The walls are built in traditional Sussex boulder flint work with brick reveals under a conical slate roof. Timber windows are placed in two segments of the wall and a circular rooflight provides light and ventilation to the gallery office. The floor of the studio at ground level is finished in ceramic tiles with underfloor heating; the gallery has beech strip flooring.

Cost: approx £100,000

DESIGN ENGINE The clients work from home and needed a dedicated family space away from the studio.

The architect's approach was to introduce a single-volume, multifunctional space beneath the first floor. Its tapering plan produces a dynamic form which controls internal and external volumes. Sliding glass doors and an existing garden wall enclose a small new courtyard. A skylight draws light into the kitchen area, while a service wall forms a continuous link between the entrance hall and garden, enclosing kitchen, utility, store, shower and WC. The remainder of the plan is left open and flexible. The clients'colour scheme reflects their approach to graphic design.

The structural engineer was ADS Associates and Bluehouse Construction was the contractor.

Cost: £84,000

HOWEL EVANS & OPHER ARCHITECTS A tiny site in Brixton was created 20 years ago by the messy subdivision of the original dwelling. It faced a courtyard bounded on one side by a three-storey flank wall, a garden boundary and a gated entrance.

The scheme aims to dissolve the division between inside and outside space by creating a courtyard 'room'. The elements within the 'room' reinforce this domestic analogy - abstracted cupboards, dresser, lighting etc and a uniform concrete surface to the floor. A split-level roof deck/lantern has been inserted above the spare bedroom and stairwell which also serves as a home working area.The fully glazed box rises from work surface level and reveals open views of London. The structural engineer was Peter Dann.

Cost: £160,000

SIMON CONDER ASSOCIATES The client wanted to extend a nineteenth century house in north London to create a new 'garden room', a utility room and a new entrance hall at garden level linking the new accommodation to the existing house. To minimise its impact on the mature garden, the garden room occupies a sunless area north of the garage and next to the kitchen. The room is a simple glass box,3.6m wide,7.2m long and 3m high. The large adjacent sycamore ruled out a glass roof. Instead, a solid flat roof, finished in concrete paving slabs, provides a terrace for existing first floor accommodation. From the street, all that is seen of the building is a 2.1m solid iroko screen, which pivots to give access to a raised iroko deck that runs below a pergola to the front door. A third interior iroko screen pivots to reveal the garden through the frameless double glazing of the garden room. Dewhurst Macfarlane was the structural engineer, the contractor was Deefor Quality Refurbishments.

Cost: £98,500

GILMORE HANKEY KIRKE GHK was commissioned to design a replacement for an existing corrugated iron-clad boathouse in Salcombe. The new design, within a conservation area, incorporates accommodation on two floors over a boat store, in place of only one previously. A spiral stair in a circular drum connects the floors and there is a shower room serving the main bedroom on the upper floor. The new structure is clad in hardwood boarding so that it weathers down to blend with adjoining buildings.

The contractor was JDC Builders.

Contract sum: £188,000

ADRIAN JAMES ARCHITECTS The studio is a new build annex to the architect's own riverside house in central Oxford.Located at the front of the site, it acts as a gatehouse for the main dwelling.The path to the house passes under the studio and on through the walled garden which the studio conceals. The site is at the centre of an urban block, a collection of rear gardens and parking lots. The studio acts as a focus to this backland, ordering the disorder. Internally, the ground floor has heavy masonry servant spaces with lobby, shower and staircase in engineering brickwork.The first floor is a single, versatile, high-domed space, presently the architect's studio, topped with a square oculus. The structural engineer was DJ Mills and the contractor G Cox Builders.

Contract sum: £70,000

THE PIKE PRACTICE The brief was to sort out the areas at the back of a Victorian semi-detached house in south London which suffered from familiar problems associated with this house type: unrelated and dark pokey spaces with little visual access to garden.The architect has made significant structural alterations: relocating the kitchen and building a small side extension to produce a more open-plan living/kitchen/dining area.A structural glass roof gives a high level of natural light by day and an opportunity for star gazing by night. Timothy George was the structural engineer and the contractor was ARB Developments.

Cost: £100,000

THEIS AND KHAN This project, for a private client in south London, consisted of opening up a rather dingy basement to create a family/kitchen/dining room. The architect has installed a new cantilevered stair which folds back on itself to become a bench seat for the dining area; the bench runs through from inside to outside to link the garden to the interior as seamlessly as possible. The QS was B&F, structural engineer Michael Pereira Associates and the main contractor was Meridian Design and Build.

Cost: £200,000

DRANSFIELD OWENS DE SILVA A luxury London apartment has been created within a rough industrial concrete-framed building. The client wanted a modern design which incorporated some aspects of her Chinese heritage, hence the carp pond, stepping stones and 'moon gate' leading to the spare bedroom. A concrete worktop and polished concrete floor in the kitchen remind her of her grandmother's kitchen in China. A jacuzzi bath, set into a raised floor, enables her to indulge her liking for reading in the bath. The kitchen/living/dining room is a large, flowing, central space. A generous internal height of 3.3m allowed for level changes to be used to define spaces: the dining area is raised and the space beneath the recycled Jarrah floor has been used to provide huge storage drawers on wheels.

The contractor was DawnBuild.

Cost: £100,000

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