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This year's two-part AJ Small Projects feature, sponsored by Robin Ellis Design and Construction, is a mixture of both residential and non-residential schemes costing under £250K. All published projects will be exhibited at the RIBA in April

SANEI HOPKINS ARCHITECTS Photographs by Amir Sanei A truly small project, it was conceived and executed in reaction to the designs of Wendy Houses currently on the market. The clients for this project at Friston in Suffolk are our two- and four-year-old girls. All materials were found or sourced from the local garden centre.

It all started one day when we found nine timber windows in a skip.

The 'construction technology' was limited to what could be put together in a week off in August. The whole house is supported on four 50 x 50mm fence posts. Middle windows open on each of three sides. The rear of the sides and the back of the house are sheathed in strandboard, clad in mirror; this solid area will support future shelving, worktops, etc. The corrugated metal sheet clerestory roof allows ventilation, avoiding the condensation that can be a problem in such structures. The clients' reaction to the roof was that they would prefer a 'normal' roof next time.

Cost: £750 BUCKLEY GRAY YEOMAN Photographs by Hufton + Crow Five Broadcasting (Channel 5) wanted to make an impact within its existing atrium. The aim was a bespoke sculptural stair/bridge appearing resolved in composition while juggling many inputs.

There three elements are cranked in plan, finding their way between offset openings. And in elevation the unit slopes between offset floor levels along its length. Its floor is steel-framed glass, printed with a pixel pattern which obscures/reveals the pedestrian from below.

The floor is encased from the atrium's side by an angular, mirror-polished steel panel. This mirror finish allows the stair, a potentially bulky object, to disappear when viewed from the cluttered atrium.

Contrasting with this ethereality, the third element, the opposite side, is a black acidtreated steel plate. This balustrade folds down forming the stringer, resolving the complex connection of bridge-bed and stair flights.

Glass treads narrow then widen, turning 90° towards the atrium floor, floating by the side wall. The handrail is delicately angled in mirrorpolished steel.

The structural engineer was Mike Hadi Associates; contractors Ronchetti (Milan) and Concept Interiors (London).

Cost: £100,000 JEREMY KING ARCHITECTS Photographs by Charlotte Wood The project is an extension to a Grade II-listed, half-timbered cottage in the centre of one of Hertfordshire's key rural conservation areas. Originally an enfilade of rooms, a timber and glass side corridor was added in the 1980s to provide separate access to each room.

The brief was to create a new kitchen/family room, utility room, entrance hall and downstairs cloakroom and to provide a new double garage.

Visually, the extension is split into two areas. There is the 'barn' element, which contains the new kitchen and double garage, and a low 'link' section, housing the new large entrance hall, which connects to the existing house. The 'barn' is deliberately simple in form. Clad in western red cedar and iroko timber, it has been detailed to enable the subtle integration of large areas of glass into external walls while maintaining the horizontal continuity of the elevations. Within the kitchen, part of the glass wall opens up onto a new verandah with the garden beyond. The kitchen has also been given a double-height, conical ceiling.

By contrast, the 'link' is kept low as an important counterpoint to the presence of the original cottage, acknowledging the proportions of the latterly added glazed corridor.

The structural engineer was Greig Ling Consulting Engineers; contractor Rippingale Developments.

Cost: £135,000 DAVID MIKHAIL ARCHITECTS Photographs by Nicholas Kane/arcaid. co. uk A Victorian house in Rylett Road, Chiswick - all symmetry and finely wrought elegance - belied its cramped rooms at the back, which made little use of the possible connections and views to the long, wide back garden beyond.

The scheme combines the original arrangement of rooms at the front of the house with a new steel and brick structure to the rear, which provides a gradually more open arrangement. This was not about turning a Victorian house into 'loft style living'. Rather, we have tried to synthesise the benefits of steel and glass with the comforting, timeless benefits of enclosure, texture and clearly defined rooms.

Freestanding brick walls outside suggest external rooms. With their glass walls folded away, the principal rooms extend outwards into 'inside-out rooms', delineated by these brick walls outside. In this way even the modern rooms at the rear of the house enjoy a degree of enclosure and texture that connects them intimately to the Victorian rooms at the front of the house.

The contractor was Ormond Construction.

Cost: £235,000 JOHN PARDEY ARCHITECTS Photographs by David Hurley On arrival, the house is seen from above so that the roof of the new wing is an important element in its design. The terne-coated stainless steel-clad roof, a Corbusian butterfly wing in section, is combined with the idea of a folding plane in elevation that wraps over a new living room to provide both a termination to the house and a frame to the views across the valley.

Located near Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, the design for client David Hurley is very carefully attuned to the scale of his existing building, linked by a new glazed sleeve that allows access to a deck with stair to the lower level, and to a larger south-facing deck to the upper level connecting to the living space.

Internally, limestone floors and birch ply ceilings are complemented by a folding, varnished iroko storage unit supporting a wood-burning stove and a specially commissioned rug from our longterm collaborator, Helen Yardley.

The structural engineer was Nicholas Williamson Taylor; contractor Richard Kendrick.

Cost: £192,000 GUNDRY & DUCKER ARCHITECTURE Photographs by Daniel Sanderson When refurbishing an existing Moshi Moshi sushi restaurant at the foot of a 1970s office building in London's Ludgate Circus, the client wished to create two differing zones: a restaurant and a takeaway area. The existing shop front, floor finishes and staircase were to be retained. This project gives the two separate rooms different atmospheres; the downstairs takeaway area is viewed as an extension of the street while the upstairs is intended to resemble a more club-like private room.

The project uses one main material - vitreous enamelled steel panels - for wall cladding, tables, light fittings and signage. An angled wall which appears to project through the shop front is clad at its base in dark green, which continues through a double-height space to form a dado at first floor level. Above this it turns into a pink cherry blossom 'wallpaper'. This is a reinterpretation of the traditional Japanese 'Sakura' pattern. A staircase in a mirrored enclosure connects the two.

The contractor was Tienda.

Cost: £72,000 JMARCHITECTS Photographs by Andrew Lee Client Rosemount Lifelong Learning wished to refurbish and extend this building, situated in the grounds of one of the few listed buildings in the area, Royston Primary School in Glasgow.

A zinc-clad crèche has been added to the existing building, Rosemount Flexicentre, which has been refurbished. Design of the new facility combines old and new in an exciting way.

As well as saving and reinvesting in a building that was well known in the neighbourhood, the project, by providing bespoke crèche facilities to the Flexicentre, enables it to continue its service to the community.

The engineer was Adams Partnership; QS Brown & Wallace; contractor Waverley Builders.

Cost: £245,000 JMARCHITECTS Photographs by Andrew Lee The Millar house is on the southern base of the Campsie Fells, in the Central region of Scotland, adjacent to a coniferous forest. The new house is built in the grounds of the client's large existing villa, sited on a slope that maximises southerly views. A large timber deck against the livingspace wall floats over the landscape and masks the junction of the house with the ground.

The new house has a zinc roof and is clad with oak boards organised in panels, with steel channels at first-floor level framing the large, southerly lounge windows. Overlooking mature gardens, the lounge is reached through a double-height entrance hall with a stainless steel stair.

Making visual connections from space to space is a feature of the house. In the living area, double doors either side of the hearth link the two rooms along the south facade. The lounge also fills the depth of the house, with windows in the north facade aligning with those on the south to give through-views to the lower gardens.

The engineer was Adams Partnership; QS Dunne Mitchell Aikman; contractor McDaid Building Services.

Cost: £240,000 GLAS ARCHITECTS Photographs by Hufton + Crow The project was to create two new semi-detached houses, conceived as a single monolithic block.

It is in Chapel Road, London W13. Playing on the Victorian tradition of using more expensive brick on the front facade, the front here is of polished masonry blocks (and flush windows), with coarse, split-faced blocks to the remaining sides. The blocks are cut in half lengthwise to create a thinner, more elegant proportion, helping to give a contemporary interpretation to this traditional material.

The apparent exterior mass is carved out at ground floor level, breaking down the monolithic block. Interiors are defined by planar elements and high spaces. The major space is a double-height living/dining room with open-plan kitchen, reflected in the front fenestration. A mezzanine projects into this space, defining a room above. A rooflight above the entire length of the stair further accentuates the sense of height. The more-enclosed first floor comprises two bedrooms separated by a shared bathroom and back-to-back wardrobes. Having received unacceptably high tenders, Glas set up G Developments as management contractor.

This proved efficient in dealing with risk and site disputes. The houses were built for £985/m 2.Structural engineer was Building Structure Workshop; planning consultant Andy Rogers.

Cost: £215,000 POPULARCHITECTURE Photographs by Gareth Gardner This ambitious refurbishment in Shepherds Bush, west London, provides construction and development company Cranshield Projects with a showroom, meeting space, offices and support facilities at ground and basement levels. The prime aim is to present a stunning showroom which acts like a film set, with the public on the street becoming the audience.

The project, called Gold Productions, can be understood in terms of six elements. Gold Desk provides a stage from which the public are greeted; two storeys high, gold-leafed, growing from the purple vinyl slope. Meeting Cube is in maple with backlit screens, for informal meetings and public access to information. The Tunnel, in red vinyl, is a route from foyer to rear workspaces and a venue for informal meetings. Oak Box is a classic directors' office, all in oak, with a panoramic window overlooking the rear courtyard. Cabin, a timber-clad observation tower, forms the rear entrance, connected to the mirror bridge. Gold Shed, the magical Gold Productions shed, lies within the basement open-plan offices.

The structural engineers were Elite Designers and Michael Barclay Partnership (for glazing);

contractor Cranshield Projects (London).

Cost: £229,500 HODGSON GABB STUDIO Photographs by Paul Smoothy Client Justin Reid wanted an existing apartment remodelled to provide a sleeping gallery and study accommodation.

He approached us in early 2003 with a view to improving the apartment at the De Havilland Studios in Hackney; work was completed in January 2004.

The flat had been created from a former aircraft factory, divided into several units.

Various options to increase the space within were considered. Ultimately, the robust concrete ceiling was used to suspend a steel mezzanine with sliding doors to separate sleeping and study spaces from the living area.

The smooth steel structure contrasts with the poorly finished existing concrete. The upper level is carpeted to contrast with the timber that is used for all fixed furniture.

The structural engineer was Haskins Robinson Waters; contractor P Thompson Contracts.

Cost: £40,000 GELDER AND KITCHEN Photographs by John Beuvink Our extension to Pen Green Nursery, Corby, for Northamptonshire County Council, provides 12 spaces for 0-2 year olds. The design allows the children to interact with the building to stimulate their development.

The extension is entered from the existing nursery. The new playroom opens onto a protected garden at one end and steps down to the main playground at the other. A bay window runs along the full length of the playroom at child height, providing contact with the garden and facilitating visual interaction with older children playing outdoors.

Ancillary rooms are located off the corridor, with the milk kitchen an important part of the experience of the nursery. The kitchen is an island with a ramp terminating it, while allowing toddlers interaction with nursery staff preparing their meals.

Throughout, the rooms are suffused with daylight. Colours are muted, with timber linings used to provide a warm welcoming environment.

The contractor was Marriott Construction.

Cost: £195,000 SCAPE ARCHITECTS Photographs by Killian O'Sullivan/Lightroom The client wanted us to open up a small, dimly lit basement within a Grade II-listed Georgian town house in Canonbury Grove, north London. This was to accommodate a compact kitchen, dining and living areas.

The centrepiece of this project is a three-dimensional furniture element, which is used to define and differentiate functional zones and to reorientate the dynamic of the room. A plane of rich warm sucupira hardwood folds to form a worktop at which to cook, then a lowered ceiling soffit, then a cantilevered bench. This creates an intimate sense of place centred around a large cantilevered dining table, which provides a natural focal point for gathering. The kitchen units, remaining worktops and floor form a neutral palette and act as a backdrop.

Natural light brought in through a newly created lightwell to the front, and artificial lighting, provide ambient lighting, focus and differentiation, illuminating objects and redefining space.

Specialist joinery was by Patrick Shilling Woodcraft.

Cost: £50,000 DRANSFIELD OWENS DE SILVA Photographs by Rupert Truman The clients, whose existing house at Warren End, Kingston, was luxurious but unexciting, wanted a new large living space that would be suitable for entertaining.

The new building, on the site of their old garage, provides a new garage and a large en suite bedroom for their teenage son on the ground floor, with the party space above. This lofty and characterful room has a bar and cloakroom, with a mezzanine above it at one end.

Access to the mezzanine, imagined as a space for guests to sleep, involves stepping on the timber shelving and going through a trap door.

Elegantly curved timber portals frame the roof.

Internal walls and roof soffits are clad in two types of timber. Structural glazing at the apex gives wonderful views of the night sky and a feeling of lightness and spaciousness to the room.

Externally, new work relates to the existing through the use of white render and copper.

The structural engineer was Packman Lucas;

contractor DawnBuild; joinery by Kingston Craftsmen.

Cost: £214,000 SARAH WIGGLESWORTH ARCHITECTS Photographs by Paul Smoothy G-box is a modular building system for small self-contained structures - fully insulated plywood-clad cabins for year-round use. They are pre-wired and can be delivered flat-packed for assembly by two people. Window and door types and locations are flexible. The generic cabin would cost about £8,000.

This 10m 2 example, used as a design studio at Mile End in London, has integrated modular furniture including storage, desk and plan chest. This building demonstrates the flexibility of the g-box system with several other bespoke elements: a stressed-skin plywood roof, water chute clad in copper sheet, a frameless 'popout' viewing window, copper-cladding to the plan chest and two large oak sliding doors.

Further g-box projects have been commissioned. The generic g-box launch is scheduled for later this year.

Cost: £35,000 KNOTT ARCHITECTS Photographs by Jefferson Smith The project sought to bring light, space and contemporary living to a 1970s' mockGeorgian brick box house, located on a small estate of similar boxes at Hadley Highstone in the London Borough of Barnet. The rear faces east onto beautiful open countryside and the client wanted the cellular plan opened up towards this.

All internal walls on the ground floor were removed, creating a large square space (with some columns). Large openings were also made in the rear elevation. Five 'pods' were inserted, redefining and moulding the ground-floor space while supporting required activities. Pod 1: stairs, coats, larder. Pod 2: display/book shelving, cupboards, dining storage. Pod 3: kitchen sink, ovens, fridge, storage, lavatory. Pod 4: worktop with hob, cupboards, table area. Pod 5: counter/breakfast bar, storage.

The result is a free-flowing, light-flooded, modern family living space that is open to its surroundings and the landscape.

The structural engineer was Michael Baigent Orla Kelly; contractor O'Construction.

Cost: £122,000 KNOTT ARCHITECTS Photographs by Knott Architects A bungalow at Longridge, Sheepscombe, Gloucestershire, was set on the side of a steep valley. It has been extended to form a large house that takes full advantage of the stunning views across the valley.

The body of the original house has been remodelled to provide enclosed bathroom and sleeping accommodation to the north. A new volume, mirroring it but spaced off it, contains kitchen and dining areas. Between these two is a large, glazed living space.

This space opens fully to the front and back, allowing the slope of the landscape to flow down the hill through the internal space and on down the garden - over steps, terraces, retaining walls, sloping grass and planting beds, timber floors and carpet. It is rich in its textures and materials - an external/internal designed landscape.

The contractor was R Williams of Berkeley.

Cost: £247,000

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