Repoussoir

Repoussoir

Architect
Con | Form Architects
Location
Andalus Road, London, SW99PF
Project Year
2018
Category
Housing
Simone Bossi

Repoussoir

Con | Form Architects as Architects

Having lived in the 4-bedroom Victorian terraced property for over 15 years, the clients had grown tired of the tiny kitchen located in the rear outrigger, the dark interior spaces and the disconnect from / lack of views to the rear garden space. The flexibility to allow for entertaining, particularly extended familyat summer weekends and during the festive period was key. Having undertaken a roof / loft extension in 2010 the clients were also keen not to have any proposal dominate the existing house as this large volume currently does. Increase the connection to the rear external amenity space and make better use of the under-utilized side return


Design Objectives


Increase the connection to the rear external amenity space and make better use of the under-utilized side return


Link the tiny existing kitchen to the rest of the living space


Flexibility within an open plan layout – avoiding disparate, cellular spaces


Allow greater level of light into the interior living spaces


Not dominate the property like the existing roof extension does


Allow the existing Victorian property to become the primary focus of the project


Provide an external outbuilding, primarily for cycling practice


Description


The terraced London house with rear outrigger is a familiar typology. Often viewed as unremarkable, these iterative brick elements form a distinct architectural character, acting as an important context in the lives of many Londoners.


This project involves an intervention within such a setting; including a ground floor rear / side extension, internal reconfiguration and a lowered garden / garden room.


A deferential approach to context was adopted early in the project, with a desire to avoid repeating an existing large roof extension to the property that dominates the roofscape; in turn dominating the original typology. This project is inherently subservient and respectful to the existing structure, particularly the outrigger.


Rear external walls and internal partitions to the ground floor were removed, dissolving the threshold between inside and outside. This creates one large open plan space that is both internal and external, house and garden.


To maintain this connection, a unique structural solution of interconnecting, pared back perpendicular steel frames were introduced, with infill frameless roof glazing and glazed aluminium bi-fold doors forming the primary building envelope; maximising light into this north facing rear space. The solidity and permanence of the original brick outrigger is further enhanced with a brick soffit to the rear living space. A simple brick perimeter wall and horizontal roof form a rear outbuilding, with glazed aluminium bi-fold doors allowing it to be used as a further habitable space.


The steel frames are considered devices through which the external spaces and historic context are perceived, and through which daylight filters into the space. The innate structural tension therefore contrasts with and acts as a foil or repoussoir to the existing building, enhancing its compressive, monolithic nature. 


The resultant home is a remarkable series of living spaces, totally unexpected behind the otherwise polite and unremarkable Victorian street façade.


Materials

Anthracite Structural Steel Frame

Re-used London Stock Brick to Walls and Ceiling

Media Unit by B&B Italia

Dinesen Douglas Fir Flooring - Soap Wash Finish

External & Outbuilding Tiles Solus Ceramics

Sunflex Anthracite Bi-fold Door Systems

Concrete Kitchen Island & Splashback


Noteworthy or Unusual Details

To avoid having to have obvious downlights – the lighting for the rear living space is located within what look like removed bricks from the brick ceiling / soffit of the outrigger. The effect is that pools of ‘brick proportioned’ artificial light act as primary sources for the rear living zone. Linear LED strip lights are also installed to the perimeter of the timber floor to cast light up the brickwork wall – this feature continues outside to the rear garden space (both sides) and into the outbuilding – providing a consistent linear element that further connects the spaces in the evenings.


Further to the use of London Stock brickwork the visual connection of the internal spaces with the outside was undertaking through carefully choosing an external paving tile to match both the tone and dimensions of the soap washed Douglas Fir flooring. The intention was that the horizontal lines would run from the very from to the very rear of the property – drawing the eye to allow the threshold between inside and outside to become blurred.  

Project team
Product Specifications
BrandCategoryProducts
Solus CeramicsSolus CeramicsSuppliers
DinesenDinesenManufacturers
B&B ItaliaB&B ItaliaMedia Unit
SunflexAnthracite Bi-fold Door Systems
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