House on Bassett Road is a contemporary renovation and remodeling of a Victorian
town house in Kensington, West London by Paul+O Architects. The project
incorporates a double-height glazed extension to the rear featuring a unique
Previously divided into four flats, the project reinstates the double fronted four-storey
house as a single dwelling house, creating both horizontal and vertical ‘open plan
living’ while retaining the integrity of the original compartmentalized plan.
Through a reorganisation of the internal layout and relocation of the staircase to one
side of the house, open-plan living was achieved without disrupting the original
architecture into one large amorphous space.
Located in a conservation area, the principle intervention is to the rear, thereby
retaining the integrity of the street façade. The rear elevation features a new 6m
double-height extension - replacing an earlier unimaginative single-storey 70s
extension - connecting ground and first floors and achieving spacious open-plan
living in 3-dimensions. The extension incorporates a unique motorized oversized
triple sash window measuring 6.4m x 4m, which opens out to the garden. Supplied
by Vitrocsa, the Guillotine window is a contemporary interpretation of the ubiquitous
Victorian sash window on a much larger scale. It extends to the full height and width
of the extension flooding the principal living spaces with light and creating
uninterrupted views of south-facing garden.
The extension is minimal in its design and the palette of materials (glass and a new
flank wall of cement render) is purposefully designed to distinguish it from the original
brick building, an approach encouraged by English Heritage, who suggest that
additions to period buildings should make clear what is of our time and what is
House on Bassett Road utilises a sophisticated KNX intelligent house system, a
recurring feature in Paul+O designs, enabling both zoned and timed energy
consumption throughout the house. This system is used to control lighting; with the
use of sensors artificial lighting levels are adjusted automatically in accordance with
the amount of daylight or ambient light. The practice specified table lamps and wall
washes throughout to negate the use of inefficient downlights. An under floor heating
system installed only on the lower-ground floor makes the most of natural heat-rise,
to warm the rest of the house. Furthermore, additional insulation to all external walls
dramatically reduces heat-loss.