New London Architecture

Urban Oasis: Cloistered House

Thursday 13 May 2021

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David Taylor

Editor, NLQ and New London Weekly

'I really love this project. There’s something almost eccentric and amazing about the fact that you walk in and it is not until you go down and discreetly open these little sliding doors and you see this amazing project’ – Melissa Dowler, Director, Bell Phillips Architects


Cloistered House by Turner Architects, the restoration and extension of a Cubitt-built Georgian terraced house in a conservation area,  has won the Urban Oasis of the Year prize. The prize recognises innovative urban gardens, celebrating the best outside oasis whether that be a courtyard, a rooftop, or a beautiful balcony space. The house was carefully given life having been left to ruin for many years. It retains the formal room arrangement over three storeys, stacking studies, bedrooms and bathrooms. This creates a line of defence between the street and the new extension to the rear.

Referencing Dutch courtyard paintings, traditional East Asian courtyard houses and monastic cloisters, the extension has a formal courtyard arrangement with the intent of creating a protected and quiet space at the heart of a family home.

The Cloistered House is, says architect Paul Turner, a good example of his practice’s belief in architecture as storytelling. And that story is a rich one that draws on the courtyard and cloister spaces that have been inspired by the house’s historian clients.
The scheme is essentially of two parts. The first is the existing house, a late Georgian terrace in south east London; the second being a new extension built to its rear. The ‘narrative’ is a series of new, protected spaces in a courtyard arrangement with the rear presenting as a communal gathering space behind the refurbished cellular rooms to the front. The house was restored following being left empty for 15 years, the architects also creating dining and gathering spaces at the ground floor rear as a place to celebrate family rituals – cloistered spaces and references which also pick up on some of the interests of the historian clients, such as the courtyards of Dutch paintings or Benedictine monasteries. These spaces – including a dining area and kitchen – are ‘protected’ by the cellular rooms to the front, with Iroko timber used to provide warmth while the second courtyard includes a single cherry tree and a green roof sits above the scheme as it leads out to a garden.

Paul Turner, Director and Architect, Turner Architects and Homeowner Sarah Langford





COMMENTS FROM THE JUDGES AND ARCHITECTS

The Judges: 

‘I can imagine sitting there when that cherry tree is in blossom and looking out’ – Kunle Barker, CEO, Melt Property

‘[The architect's] ambition is all fantastic. It is vaulting ambition and it is successful in that way’ – Amin Taha, Director, Groupwork

The Architect:

‘As a practice we’re interested in storytelling, as a reason for what we’re doing, working quite closely with the client to ensure that there’s a good narrative that underlines all the decision-making as we go through’ 
 
‘The clients are historians; they are writers, with interests in politics and law. And so we tried to reinterpret the formal architecture of those institutions in a domestic setting’
WHO ARE THIS YEAR'S JUDGES?

TEAM CREDITS

Architect
Turner Architects Ltd

Structural Engineer
Bini Struct-E ltd

Planning Consultant
SM Planning

Other
West & Reid

Photographer
Adam Scott


VIEW THIS YEAR'S SHORTLIST
FOLLOW DON'T MOVE, IMPROVE! ON INSTAGRAM
ABOUT DON'T MOVE, IMPROVE!

David Taylor

Editor, NLQ and New London Weekly


Don't move, Improve

#DontMoveImprove

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