De Beauvoir House

De Beauvoir House

Cousins and Cousins Architects
London, United Kingdom
Project Year
Private Houses
Jack Hobhouse

De Beauvoir House

Cousins and Cousins Architects as Architects

Completed in January 2017, the de Beauvoir House project contains a unique rear extension to a semi-detached family home in Hackney, London. The client brief was to remodel and extend the property, creating a two story extension that harmonised the layout of the internal spaces, making them work for their growing family’s needs. As such, the rear extension, a lightweight structural glulam timber insertion, frames a series of newly created modern spaces connected via a bespoke steel staircase. The staircase forms the new heart of the house, a meticulously detailed and sculptural point of access that defines the spaces it connects.

At the first floor, the new study/bedroom overlooks the garden via operable timber clad shutters, which visually blend with the timber structure of the extension. The lightweight appearance is further emphasised by the minimally framed glass enclosed void, which also gives height to the open plan kitchen/dining space below.

The project is a culmination of considered detailing paired with an honest approach to materiality and structure, resulting in a contemporary aesthetic that compliments the traditional terraced houses from which it extends.

In granting planning permission Hackney Council praised the project for its ‘high quality lightweight design’ as well as being a ‘good example of contemporary design, incorporated into a traditional building form’ with neighbours also praising the design as sensitive and engaging whilst allowing modern design to prevail in a heritage area.

The project commenced on site in November 2015 and work was completed in January 2017. Sustainability Statement: The project was designed to adhere to energy demand requirements, however particular focus was placed on the new build elements. The material choice of using a timber glulam frame provided a relatively sustainable solution compared to steel. The large amount of minimally framed glazing needed to construct the lightweight enclosure to the bespoke steel staircase was scrutinized to avoid any cold bridging issues and condensation risk. Sustainable solutions were resolved after analysis and collaboration with environmental consultants, Enhabit.

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