The owners had lived for several years in a loft-style apartment in a converted warehouse in Wapping, London, UK. They were keen to start a family but instinctively knew that Wapping was not the right area to raise a child. They found it extremely challenging to find a larger property that they could afford in the inner city. Instead they decided to sell their home and leave London and relocate to Surbiton. This part of leafy Surrey offered more for their money and there were large enough properties that were screaming out to be renovated.
This detached Victorian house was extended to accommodate the needs of a young family with three small children.
The programme was organized into two distinctive structures: the larger and higher volume is placed at the back of the house to face the garden and make the best use of the south orientation and to accommodate a large Family Room open to the new Kitchen.
A longer and thinner volume, only 1.15m wide, stands to the western side of the house and accommodates a Toilet, a Utility and a dining booth facing the Family Room. All the functions that are housed in the secondary volume have direct access either from the original house or the rear extension, thus generating a hierarchy of served and servant volumes, a relationship that is homogeneous to that between the house and the extension.
The timber structures, while distinctive in their proportions, are connected by a shallow volume that doubles as a bench to create an architectural continuum and to emphasize the effect of a secondary volume wrapped around a primary one.
While the extension makes use of a modern idiom, so that it is clearly distinguished from the original house and so that the history of its development becomes immediately apparent, the size of the red cedar cladding boards, left untreated to allow a natural silvering process, matches that of the Victorian brickwork to bind house and extension together.
As the budget did not make possible the use a bespoke profile, an off-the-shelf board was selected and further grooved at mid point to recreate the brick pattern of the façade.
A tall and slender pivoting door, positioned at the boundary between the original house and the new intervention, allows a direct view of the garden from the front of the house and facilitates an innovative relationship with the outside.