New London Architecture

Soffit House. Overall Winner. Don't Move, Improve! 2020

Tuesday 11 February 2020

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Free exhibition
When William’s bathroom collapsed, smashing through the ceiling below, he knew something had to be done. And now, one Don’t Move, Improve! project later, he has a home filled with light and space rather than the dark, dank confusion over multiple levels he struggled with before.

‘It was all a bit of a warren. It felt as if it could benefit from being opened up’ William, Homeowner

This terrace house refurbishment and ‘infill’ rear extension creates flexible living, dining, kitchen and study spaces while adding generous double height volume and abundant light to a previously dark interior. The design brought a dank rear external alley space into the house with the double height ‘infill’ glazed extension. The repeating ‘hit and miss’ pattern of the existing terrace rear returns presented the opportunity to create a private and vertically generous infill extension, since the party wall was both unusually tall and windowless. Finished in a beautifully crafted traditional parquet Portland Limestone, the new excavated floor level creates a more comfortable ‘middle ground’ between garden and basement levels without ceiling heights being compromised. The rich material qualities of the floor are matched above with a timber soffit finished in warm oak battens. The oak soffit sweeps upwards at the existing house, revealing a frameless glass opening to sky allowing daylight Into the heart of the house. The study at entrance level enjoys a mezzanine relationship with the new spaces, with views over a frameless balustrade across the new double height space to the garden and beyond, through a huge new pivot glazed aluminium door and clerestorey above.  

‘I thought it was a very interesting project. It felt like there was an opportunity to turn it around, particularly in
the back of the house, the old rear return external space that was a very dark and damp useless external space. By bringing that into the house we really enjoyed something of real volume that looked onto the garden at the back’. Mike Shaw, Architect

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