Hampstead ModernEdit profile
The client, a couple with a young child, proffered the challenge of adding a full width modern extension to a grade 2 listed house in one of London’s most architecturally rich residential streets. Downshire Hill, in Hampstead, lies within a conservation area which includes great works of modern residential architecture such as Michael Hopkins’ Glass house, Erno Goldfinger’s house in Willow Road and the Isokon Flats by Connor Ward Lucas. This project began by understanding the historic ‘Hampstead Modern’ context and the best ways to create a sustainable, low-energy, contemporary building. Initial studies explored the feasibility of using the latest environmental design technology for grey water and rainwater collection systems and solar water heating. In the spirit of the client’s interest in the Japanese philosophy of wabi sabi, the building emphasises light, shade, tone and texture. A dramatic 3x3m metre steel-framed glass door opens the back of the extension to the garden. The existing ground floor rooms are reconnected making one large living space framed by expressed steel structural openings. The new bathroom and glass side extensions are clearly defined boxes sitting within the new volumetric garden room in order to make the space legible and allow indirect natural light to filter and deflect down from the rooflights and light baffles. The materials used are understated and modest. Where possible the construction and materials are revealed rather than covered up. Fixtures and fittings from the old house, such as 1950s taps and bath, have been restored and fitted to keep costs down and to inject character into the new building. Other details, such as light fittings have been designed to following the same rigorous approach.