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Small Projects 2004

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The second part of this year's AJ Small Projects feature, sponsored by Robin Ellis Design and Construction, features residential schemes under £250K. All published projects will be exhibited at the RIBA in March Charles Barclay When Lambeth Borough Council's planning committee turned down a first-floor extension to a private house on the Minet Estate in Brixton, south London, Charles Barclay Architects decided to go for something more striking under Permitted Development.

The result, a cedar-clad box suspended over a new kitchen and dining area, houses a bathroom and a study that can double as a spare room.

A window overlooking the garden has a flush cedar-plank shutter to strengthen the box analogy when the room is not in use. On the ground floor, the kitchen/dining room is separated from the garden by 2.6m-high sliding glass doors. The box sits above a glassto-glass corner, with a spindly column the only visible means of support.

Michael Baigent Orla Kelly was the structural engineer and David Penny/Woodstock Construction the contractor.

Cost: £130,000

acq architects Photographs by Hufton + Crow This substantial detached house in London's Dulwich village has been remodelled to create clean, new spaces including a large open family room leading onto a garden with a green slate swimming pool.

The relationship between the internal and external space is reinforced by a clear sight line that reaches from the front door through to the back of the garden.

It was extremely important to address the concerns of the local authorities and the Dulwich Estate, so acq avoided potential areas of tension by keeping built heights to a minimum and maintaining a 3m distance from party fences.

Rainbow Group was the pool contractor, Horgan Brothers was the main contractor, Christopher Bradley-Hole was the landscape architect and Mind's Eye carried out the lighting design.

Cost: £220,000

Roland Cowan Architects Photographs by Julian Cornish - Trestrail Roland Cowan Architects inserted a mezzanine floor into this former artist's studio in Chelsea, providing an informal living area, master bedroom and bathroom.

A glazed wall gives the bedroom views out through both the interior and the existing double-height windows to the street beyond, while glazed slots have been inserted into the mezzanine to allow light to penetrate deep into the ground-floor plan.

This mezzanine is reached by means of a cantilevered stone-clad stair. Other interventions include the formation of a new kitchen, which floats over the main stair to the lower ground-floor bedroom accommodation below.

The Walter Scott Partnership was the structural engineer and Riverside Building Services was the contractor.

Cost: £200,000

Snell David Architects Photographs by Michael Maynard This 1820 Grade II-listed cottage in Abington, Cambridge, was formerly the Princess of Wales public house. It was converted into a single family dwelling in 1963, and was bought in 1996 by the architect to be his own family house.

The challenge was to provide a modern yet sympathetic extension comprising a new hall and kitchen/dining room. It was essential for the new room to relate positively to the garden, and the sliding, folding doors peel back to allow the new space to spread directly onto the terrace and into the garden. The extension rises behind a continuation of the existing flint wall.

The new volume behind allows sufficient space for a mezzanine level over the hall, which is used by the children for a computer/homework station.

Alex Jones Associates was the structural engineer, Edwards Builders was the contractor and Glass Innovations was the glazing specialist.

Cost: £65,000

11.04 Architects Photographs by James Dudley The client, a bachelor in his late 20s, approached the architect following the purchase of a £500,000 developer-built apartment. His brief was for a creative bachelor pad - a flexible urban apartment to impress friends and potential partners.

The small three-bed flat was reconfigured to provide a larger one to two-bedroom unit with flexible accommodation for entertaining, work, guest use, etc. In particular, the second bedroom was designed to be as flexible as possible - separated from the living space by sliding glass screens that can be pushed into wall pockets to join these spaces.

The main bedroom has an en-suite bathroom that protrudes into the entrance area as a glass block wall.

Mirrored walls and transparent glass surfaces are used in the dining area. A ceiling-mounted projector gives a cinema experience, and club-quality audio is delivered throughout the apartment.

Jeremy Gates was the contractor, and Purves and Purves was the furniture supplier.

Cost: £125,000

Oliver Chapman Architects Photographs by Torquil Cramer This garden room extension to a listed house in the Grange area of Edinburgh has a simple plan. A corner window seat projects onto a terrace below a projecting horizontal roof.

A rectilinear form was chosen to complement the cubic form of the house and the garden room presents a formal elevation to the south-westfacing garden. The steel beam is in-line with the roof plane behind, creating the impression of lightness.

The paired columns and fixings into the brickwork around the sides are the only means of supporting the roof. Stack-bonded grey bricks and black-stained timber window frames make the walls appear to recede and highlight the lightweight quality of the roof.

David Narro Associates was the structural engineer and Inscape Joinery was the contractor.

Cost: £61,000

The Crawford Partnership Photographs by Alan Crawford and Paul Riddle Snowden House is a new three-storey house on the site of a former single-storey garage block in Islington, north London.

Construction involved excavation of a new reinforced-concrete basement level with ground and mezzanine floors above. The steel-framed superstructure allows maximum glazed areas and supports a curved copper roof. A two-storey-high internal atrium garden is provided with an electronic, fully opening all-glass flat roof for use throughout the year.

By flooding the basement with natural light it has been possible to locate bedrooms at this level. Bedroom walls are fully glazed onto the light well, and slide and fold open to create a larger open-plan flexible space. The entire house is provided with underfloor heating and finished with white Perlino marble, sourced directly from quarries in Carrara.

The Ward Wright Partnership was the structural engineer.

Cost: £200,000

Kevin Cooper, Catherine Cooper Architects Photographs by Keith Hunter 'Mayar Bhan' is a 166m 2house on a prominent hillside site in the Ayrshire village of West Kilbride, designed by the architects as their family home.

The sloping site led to a solution that locates the living space and kitchen on the first floor, where they enjoy magnificent westward views towards Arran. The four bedrooms are on the ground floor either side of the double-height entrance hall.

Extensive glazing captures westward views and evening sun, while clerestory glazing to the more private eastern facade directs morning sun into the large volume of the main living space.

This living space is reached by a bridge at first-floor level and has as its focus a fireplace, which is expressed externally in a 9m-high chimney. The design seeks to create a contemporary Scottish house, combining the austerity of Ayrshire's indigenous buildings with a scale, form and materials appropriate to its walled garden setting.

ATK Partnership was the engineer, Gordon Middleton the contractor, and Reid Associates the quantity surveyor.

Cost: £220,000

Lucy Begg and Robie Gay An Anglo-American student partnership designed and built 'Ola Mae's Porch' for a rundown mobile home as part of the Rural Studio Outreach Program in Alabama.

The programme aims to combine hands-on experience for students with the improvement of living conditions for underprivileged communities.

The climate makes the porch an intrinsic element for its shading and screening properties, where it can also provide the basis for a large outdoor room that doubles the living space of the trailer on a tight budget The materials were kept as basic as possible - dimensional lumber (treated and untreated pine), corrugated tin roofing and an insect screen coating on one side.

Cost: £3,600

DanJones Architects Photographs by Keith Collie The extension and development of the entire split-level ground floor of a Victorian terraced house in north London was devised to use space more effectively.

The principal aim was to make a small exten - sion to the sitting room without destroying an existing sun - trap - now a courtyard - to the side of the house.

Heavily textured courtyard walls pick up daylight and carry it through the dining room.

The rooms appear as a succession of frames, each overlaid on the next. From the kitchen, there are views through the doorways of the intervening dining and sitting rooms, towards a segment of garden foliage and sky.

Cost advice was provided by Dobson White Boulcott and the structural engineer was Price & Myers.

Cost: £91,000

Ian Hay Photographs by Alessandra Santarelli The panoramic views of London offered by the flat roof of this listed Victorian building in Hampstead were restricted by the lack of access to the external space. Originally, two bedrooms and a bathroom occupied the top floor. The internal walls were removed to open up the wedge-shaped space as the new living room.

Development above parapet level is restricted, so access to the view was provided through a retractable glass roof, which opens mechanically over a sculptural assembly of alternating tread staircases and suspended platforms.

These become protected outdoor workspaces or dining areas when the roof is open in summer.

The main contractors were Alan Beckinsale and Slavomir Skora, and the structural engineer was Elliott Wood Partnership.

Cost: £90,000

Robert Doe Ffinch Street in Deptford, London, occupies a brownfield gap-site wedged between the terraced shops and flats of Deptford High Street and a small area of light industrial units behind. A calm and simplistic volumetric expression was sought - an intermediary between a disparate collection of buildings and spaces. The timber-clad building is set back from the street, behind a front yard with a 50m 2workshop or studio flat at ground level, and a 75m 2maisonette above.

The thermo-efficient design incorporates underfloor heating linked to condensing boilers and a solar panel to supplement hot water for the maisonette.

Hobbs Construction was the main contractor and Michael Barclay Partnership was the structural engineer.

Cost: £156,250

Deborah Miller Architects Photographs by Paul Tyagi This 1950s flat in central London required almost total refurbishment and modernising to suit a single professional client.

It entailed demolition of the majority of the internal partitions, which were replaced with transforming elements to allow light and space to be borrowed between rooms and to blur the distinction between public and private spaces.

A glass and metal screen runs the length of the flat, acting variously as a sliding door between the living room and hall, a translucent enclosure to a new shower, and pivot door to the kitchen.

A stainless-steel kitchen worktop returns into the living room to become a bar; a storage cabinet transforms into a computer station; a glass-enclosed bathroom acts as a performance space while simultaneously obscured by reflections from the adjacent streetscape.

The restrained palette of black American walnut floors, metal and glass partitions and birds-eye maple cabinetry unites the composition.

Pure Construction was the contractor.

Cost: £140,000

Kennedy O'Callaghan Architects Bybridge Cottage in Eversley, Hampshire, combines traditional forms with modern interpretation, remodelling a listed cottage and new garden lodge.

The brief was to increase the light and space, to improve view to the garden. A gallery, an oak bay window and dormer windows provide an illusion of space, by moving the kitchen, bathroom and staircase. Original timbers were exposed, stripped and oiled, and leaded lights made to match existing fittings. The new lodge provides a complementary space, with salvaged clay tiles on the roof, gable and timber boarding, and sliding doors.

Elliott Wood Partnership was the engineer, McLoughlin Associates was contract manager, Woodhams Landscapes was the landscape designer and Executive Building Services was the contractor (phase 2).

Cost: £225,000 AND architects Photographs by Steve Stevens Photography

This rear open-plan extension to a semi-detached Victorian house in Upper Tooting Park, London, includes the kitchen, dining room, utility room and WC. Previously the rooms onto the garden were dark and disjointed. Natural light and transparency between rooms was maximised by creating a striking living space that opens the house out into the garden and onto the sky.

The large picture-frame window cantilevers out from a glazed panel below, allowing a window seat to be formed within the width of the window opening. The curved, plastered-ply ceiling and roof create an indeterminate boundary between the living space and garden.

Solid oak doors and window frames 2.5m-high add warmth. In the bathroom a solid limestone hand-carved sink matches the clean lines of the limestone heated floor. The WC, utility room and lobby are all hidden behind sliding frosted-interior glass doors that disappear into extended existing walls.

Cameron Taylor Bradford was the structural engineer and John Coyle Contracts was the contractor.

Cost: £80,000

Paul Archer Design Photographs by Paul Smoothy Glass technology is pushed to a new level at this garden room in Primrose Hill, London. The simple walls act as cantilevers to support the roof, and columns/fins are done away with, leaving the wall plane clear. The roof is a single sheet of glass supported by the thinnest of glass beams.

Dimensions were determined by the size of the largest glass-toughening kiln in the UK.

Glass walls slide into a solid slate base leaving just a fine slot for rainwater and fibre-optic lighting. Gaps in the floor slates allow air to be pumped in - high-level vents in the brick wall provide air outlets, keeping the space at external temperatures during the summer. Underfloor heating is used in winter, and two simple glass doors slide from within the wall thickness to separate the space from the rest of the flat.

At night the garden and pool are lit in varying colours, the glass walls breaking into a multitude of reflections.

Fluid Structures was the structural engineer, Alan Christer carried out the enabling works, Firmans was responsible for the glass, and Paul Middlemiss was the landscape designer.

Cost: £70,000

Paul Archer Design At Waldron House in Islington, London, a large scallop was taken from the back garden down to basement level, allowing the basement kitchen to be extended and flow to the outside.

One retaining wall is skewed in plan to allow an existing tree to remain, while creating an asymmetric balance to the back of the house. The original back door is linked to this new wall by silver steps, leading to a seating area half a level above the garden and a whole level above the kitchen garden.

The roof to the extended kitchen space is one sheet of double glazing, pushing the technical limit of the two-way span and giving an uninterrupted view of the sky. The glass is supported by a steel frame.

Exterior walls are clad in welded sheet aluminium.

The doors are designed to slide away into wall recesses, allowing the lower turfed area to feel like part of the dining room ( play on Le Corbusier's surrealist roof garden).

The kitchen worktops were cast on site from white sand and white marble chippings, then carefully pol - ished and sealed - they take on the natural colour of the sand. Fluid Structures was the structural engineer.

Cost: £65,000

Simon Conder Text by Susan Dawson. Photographs by Chris Gascoigne and Steve Ambrose Dungeness Beach in Kent is the largest area of shingle in Europe - 1,600 hectares of it. The harsh and dramatic landscape with its distant, just-visible shoreline is dominated by the bulk of Dungeness B power station. Here and there the landscape is dotted with a cottage or a fisherman's weekend hut. Developed over many years by means of improvisation and bodge, these buildings are classic examples of 'non-plan' and have a unique charm. The best known, Prospect Cottage, belonged to the late film-maker Derek Jarman, who became fascinated by the 'otherworldly atmosphere' of the scene. Today, Dungeness is an architectural conservation area and has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest to preserve its unique ecology of grasses and shingle plants.

Simon Conder has redesigned a single-storey house on the shingle beach. Originally a typical beach bungalow, built in the 1930s, like many others it had a simple timber frame, originally painted with tar but subsequently altered and extended with a hotchpotch of make-do additions. 'It was pretty basic, ' says Conder. 'A timber-frame shack on a concrete base with a masonry chimney. What was surprising was that it hadn't already blown away.'

Although most of the original huts and cottages had been built before the Town and Country Planning Act, the popularity of Jarman's garden and house ensured that Conder's proposal had to be approved by the local authority. The new scheme is in the spirit of Dungeness. Conder stripped the building of its tacky cladding and roofing down to the original timber frame. It proved to be inadequate and was largely rebuilt and extended to east, west and south. The frame has been clad internally with spruce ply - this provides all internal finishes - and externally with standardgrade external ply. On the outside the walls and the roof are finished with black EPDM synthetic rubber membrane, a technically more sophisticated version of the layers of felt and tar that are found on many of the original huts. There are no gutters to the roof; rainwater simply discharges onto the shingle - the perfect natural drainage bed.

Luckily, although the house had been altered, an original fisherman's shed survived adjacent to it. This has been preserved and is now the main entrance, linked to the house by a frameless glass slot. Inside, the simplicity of the original has been maintained; a single bedroom with built-in ply storage, a bathroom with cantilevered bath enclosure, a snug with a wood-burning stove for nighttime, and a living room and dining/kitchen that merge together as a light, open-plan space. South and west walls of the living room have been replaced with sliding/folding glass doors. They reveal the vast views of shingle and, at high tide, you can just see the sea and possibly one of the huge container ships that seem to glide across the horizon. Other windows are all designed to frame views; long narrow horizontal windows at sofa level frame the endless horizon and a tall, thin vertical window in the kitchen frames a strange timber mast, which stands alone on the beach. One of the best views is from the bath, which is cantilevered over the shingle and has a continuous window slot to give dramatic views to south and west.

The spruce ply inside the house - walls, floors, ceilings, doors and joinery - gives it an exceptionally warm and tactile feel. The ply doors are fitted with stainless-steel piano hinges running continuously from top to bottom. Wherever the ply is likely to be handled - at edges of doors and cabinets - it has been framed with softwood lipping, which acts as a finger-pull and creates a shadow gap.

In isolation, the black synthetic rubber that clads the house's exterior creates a curious and intriguing aesthetic. But seen against the vastness of Dungeness Beach, it could easily be mistaken for one of the black-tarred beach sheds and boathouses that are part of this strange and surreal landscape.

The structural engineer was KLC Consulting Engineers, the main contractor Charlier Construction and the roofing contractor M R Anderson.

Cost: £112,400 SUPPLIERS: EPDM synthetic rubber membrane Prelasti; waterproofing AAC; windows and doors Scandinavian Window Systems; bath and shower tray Kaldewei; lighting SKK, Louis Poulsen

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