South Hampstead, London, completion Summer 2017
When the clients acquired a quite rare and neglected one bedroom garden flat conversion in the South Hampstead Conservation Area, they spotted the chance to develop their property into a contemporary ample four bedroom home, as well as the possibility to embark on an ambitious project.
For the architect, the brief became the opportunity to explore an architectural strategy capable of connecting diverse spaces at different levels, yet maintaining a great degree of continuity, and to articulate the additional volume above and below ground beyond its rather constrained site and an even more stringent planning framework.
The project abstains from creating an ‘in keeping’ addition and employs a dark blue waterstruck brick to contrast with the London stock. The double-storey extension takes the shape of a predominantly vertical volume, its simplicity deliberately in contrast with the Victorian parent building.
Special emphasis is placed on the re-interpretation of the traditional relationship between windows and walls and solid and void. The result is a geometric idiom with a rather porous façade that is simultaneously in a harmonious fashion, yet in contrast with the host building, and that opens up to the garden.
The redesigned stairwell, off the entrance vestibule, offers a phenomenological ascent towards the principal sleeping quarters while the living quarters, on the ground level, are arranged as a stepped sequence of connected spaces, different in proportions, leading to the open garden space beyond.
Further sleeping accommodations are situated at basement level with direct access from the new lightwell. The hollowed ground is employed as a spatial tool to further amplify the verticality of the new rear façade.