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Lens House by Alison Brooks

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Manser Medal shortlist: Lens House by Alison Brooks Architects

In November 2005 we were approached to restore a derelict Victorian semi-detached house in Canonbury, which was suffering major structural decay. Our client invited us to be architecturally adventurous and to place the focus of the new house on a magnificent walnut tree in the garden.

Our approach was to volumetrically transform relationships between the interior spaces and their connections to the garden and the sky. We created two connected, tapered volumes that wrap around the house and project into the garden. The first volume, created from space excavated from the sloped side of the garden, is an office and shop front for the client’s photography business. The second connected volume spatially expands and draws light into the first floor living room.

As well as providing work and living space, the extensions choreograph a sequence of views of the walnut tree, and shield the house from neighbours.

Alison Brooks, founding director, Alison Brooks Architects

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