The existing house is a modest single-storey house built in the 1970’s, arranged in an L-shape around a south facing garden laid mainly to lawn. Whilst extensive glazing to the south and west elevations permits a considerable amount of natural light and establishes an appealing relationship between house and garden, the house currently suffers from a lack of privacy: it is on view to passers by, the living and dining spaces being directly overlooked from Gog Magog Way to the south.
The extension is situated to the east of the existing house. It creates an ‘arrival courtyard’ to the south with parking for three cars, and defines a new ‘back garden’ to the north. The north and south elevations of the proposal run parallel to the existing house, and the eastern wall is guided by the site boundary and a line of trees marking the edge of the Green Belt (the largest of which are to be retained). The extension is designed to have minimal impact on neighbouring properties: it is located on the far side (to the east) of the existing house from its neighbours, minimising the impact of construction, and its height is designed to match that of the existing house’s ridge line. (There are no further properties immediately to the east of the site.) The extension is also designed to avoid as many of the existing trees as possible, thereby preserving and protecting the distinctive and attractive Green Belt boundary. Two existing sheds to the south of the site will be removed and replaced with a single-storey garage which will provide bin and bike storage.
At ground floor, the extension provides a new entrance hall and kitchen/dining room. Meanwhile, the changes to the existing building at this level offer the family greater amenity space without compromising the architecture: the existing living room will become the master bedroom with an en-suite bathroom; the small kitchen becomes a utility room; and the ceiling in one of the bedrooms will be opened up to expose the timber beams above and provide access to a mezzanine bed platform.
The first floor of the extension provides a new living room with panoramic views of the fields to the north and east. Here, a corner chimney serves a fireplace, and forms a visual counter balance to the chimney within the existing house.
Located in a Cambridge conservation area the house dates from the 1920s and consisted of a series of two-storey pitched-roof forms with single-storey bay windows, influenced by the nearby work of Baillie Scott. The internal arrangement of spaces and their inter-relationships was confused and dated, and an unremarkable two-storey extension had been added to the north of the house in about 2002 that was not well integrated into the form of the house. NRAP were asked to replace the existing conservatory with a garden room that could open up directly to a new terrace and generally revitalise the property in its entirety.
NRAP developed a two-pronged approach to the alterations that were being considered. The garden room was developed as a modern extension that could be read as a separate form from the house itself. For the other alterations, however, we looked to the house’s original inspiration in order to bring an improved sense of unity to the house as a whole, both internally and externally. These alterations included a completely new northern extension with a roof that sweeps right down from the main ridge to form a low loggia on oak columns in front of a secondary entrance. The roof draws on Baillie-Scott’s powerful roof forms and contains small dormers growing out of the roof slopes to light ground-floor and first-floor rooms. The same sources inspired a new generous, fully-glazed bay window on the garden elevation to replace an existing cramped and dark space, as well as the more fluid plan of the ground floor on the garden side of the house. Here, sliding panels can be used to close off the reception rooms, while one steps down through a screen of piers to the kitchen.
The new garden room grows out of the kitchen at the lower ground level giving direct access to the new terrace. Its rectangular plan gently swings away from the main lines of the house in deference to the terrace and garden that it addresses. The oak lining to the glazing is very deep, creating spaces inside the window and outside the door to from which to enjoy the external spaces from the building in all weathers.
The strong material expression of these openings unites them as a piece of joinery from the interior and ties them to the oak-clad walls that face the terrace and garden. By contrast, the roof that runs down onto the north wall is faced with large-format clay tiles providing a rich visual and physical texture. While the extension is an unashamedly modern addition, its rich material palette, liminal spaces and garden-orientated architecture celebrate the Arts-and-Crafts inspiration for the original house.
Our project to provide a substantial extension to a semi-detached Arts and Crafts house in Hills Avenue was designed for and with a close friend and architect. The dynamics of the relationship allowed ideas to be tested and details to be refined in the context of an inspiring and challenging architectural discourse. Exacting building tolerances and precise detailing was unfamiliar territory for the contractor. The apparent simplicity of the finished work belies the efforts of the team involved with the construction.
“Although this extension is relatively modest in scale, it nevertheless illustrates a bold and exciting response to a difficult challenge. The result is a simple slate-clad side extension to the existing Victorian house that provides a dramatic double-storey height living space. This scheme demonstrates that a contemporary approach to extending a house can provide an inspiring and appropriate solution even on a prominent corner site.” Barry Shaw MBE, 2013.
This extension to a late Victorian town house in Royston, on a prominent junction on the approach to the town, replaced an existing pitched roof out-house. The proposal includes a studio / office space at raised ground floor level and a large double height living space at lower ground floor.
The scheme was conceived as a plastic manipulation of a traditional two-storey pitched roof box, dislodged from the host and distorted in response to the brief and site. The large north facing gable inflects towards the street to create a strong end to the building as it turns the corner. Additionally, the volume of the living space, at nearly 7.5m high, and the inflection to the gable wall helps provide an ideal acoustic environment for our music loving client – free from standing waves.
A glass and zinc strip above a new staircase separates the living space from the original house and helps articulate the various elements. Windows and roof lights are carefully considered to maximize natural light without compromising privacy. The horizontal ribbon window to the study was set at a height to allow views out to the middle distance, whilst preventing eye contact to those in the street below.
Short-listed for the Building Futures Design Awards 2013
“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.
This small extension to the rear of a compact terraced house in Cambridge introduces filtered daylight along the new boundary wall and makes the most of views to the garden whilst shielding views to the neighbours to enhance privacy.
“Architect Richard Owers gave this Twenties bakery in Cambridge a new lease of life, creating a modern home while acknowledging the building’s culinary past.” Grand Designs Magazine, May 2015.
In October 2010 Richard Owers spotted a ramshackle bakery and detached baker’s house in the south of Cambridge. The bakery building, more recently used as a launderette, was disused and boarded up. The two-up two-down free standing house had been privately rented and was in very poor condition. The two buildings were stranded behind a parade of shops within a sea of car parking at the end of a tar mac drive. As separate units the two existing buildings had little obvious appeal. The commercial property suffered from being hidden away beyond the shopping street, and the house was small and lacked privacy. As a place to live it had little going for it – or that was the general perception!
“Wherever you look in The Nook, it’s clear a great deal of thought has gone into every element of the design.” Cambridge Magazine September 2014.
Construction of this new family house to the south of the city centre was completed in spring 2009. The house is sited on a 12 meter plot adjacent to the client’s current family home. As well as functioning as a retirement home for the client, the house provides a consulting and therapy room and a top lit gallery space for exhibiting the client’s paintings. An open plan living space faces the garden to the rear, and the consulting room addresses a south-facing private courtyard.
Reconfiguring this Victorian property has transformed the relationship between the house and its garden. A new roof is separated from the existing building by a continuous glazed slot that brings light deep into the kitchen. The new roof cantilevers beyond the existing building to provide a sheltered space adjacent to the back door. An oak clad door slides in front of the existing brick wall to sit neatly out of the way.
We have been able to transform the way our clients live by remodelling and extending the rear and side of their terraced house in north Cambridge. The boundary to the side of the house was flanked by a two storey unfenestrated brick wall that cut out valuable south light. The challenge therefore was to create a series of contemporary spaces related to the garden, without cutting out too much light from the centre of the house. We achieved this through the use of roof lights and generous windows facing the garden. The existing corner wall was retained at ground floor to reduce the need for new structure The retained pier was clad in oak to form an object that straddles inside and outside and a bookcase was created within the box adjacent to a generous window seat.