Description by architect: Challenging constraints can make projects uniquely original. A large 700mm-diameter water-main culvert pipe runs in the rear garden of this period property in North London. No foundation or machine digging is allowed to take place in close proximity of the pipe itself.
This heavy constraint did not limit the ambition of extending this family home and opening connections with the garden, while balancing the need of protecting the privacy from the overlooking neighbouring properties.
The diagonal upward running direction of the large pipe has determined the stepped plan and section of the new additions.
The small addition allowed the internal layout and garden to be radically re-organised to achieve a far more efficient and comfortable open-plan family living. There is now an intriguing and articulated continuity between the interior and the outdoors.
A special space next to the kitchen has been crafted to be an intimate glazed nook area floating above the outside ground.
Plenty of natural light floods the pockets of space from where the sky is visible.
Different aspects of the garden are choreographed to visually expand the interior, while cooking, gathering around the new kitchen island or dining at the generous table.
A timber and glass-covered porch gives access to a welcoming outdoor room, consistently clad with larch boards on the walls and the articulated decked surfaces, that provide generous seating and flexible space to socialize.
Larch Glulam beams complement the warm timber surfaces that are edged by dark concrete blocks defining rectilinear steps, retaining walls and solid planters in harmonic contrast to the transparency and lightness of of the glass nook enclosure and the facade brick textures.