NRAP Architects | Astor House - NRAP Architects
Photo Credit: David Valinsky
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Astor House


  • 19 Jul


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“Thank you again for a fantastic job, in all respects. The building is exactly what we had hoped for and the careful design and its realisation was excellent!”  Client testimonial.

Astor House is a simple late-Victorian villa that had been extended in the 1980s with a garage and office to the side and a garden room to the rear. It was bought by our clients as a house to grow old in, accommodating children and grandchildren on their regular visits.  NRAP were asked to replace the existing garden room with a new space that could open up directly to the garden, and to refurbish the rest of the house.  It was the clients’ desire to retain the character of the original rooms at the front of the house and upstairs, but to bring the kitchen (also refurbished in the 1980s) up to date.

NRAP developed an approach that placed a new garden wall along the boundary, behind which the kitchen could expand and a new garden room could sit. The garden wall continued around the south boundary to embrace a walled terrace.  The brick detailing of the garden wall suggests that it could be part of the original house while the white render of the new garden room sets it apart as a new addition.  This ‘new’ material extends out onto the terrace to form a seat and planter. With such a deep plan, natural light became a priority and where the new work approaches the old they are kept apart to allow light to enter between.

As part of the refurbishment of the existing house NRAP introduced two distinct new elements, a new stair and a book room.  The stair is expressed as a piece of furniture, lined with panels of white-stained birch ply.  It is used to make sense of the newly opened up ground floor, sitting as a fulcrum between the kitchen and the living room, keeping these two spaces apart.  The treatment of the stair as a piece of joinery also helps to draw the ground and first floors together, the ply striking a datum at balustrade level around the walls forming the stairwell. A new internal ‘window’ was formed overlooking the stair to bring light into a previously dark part of the landing and to be enjoyed as a piece of architectural theatre.

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