Camden House, London by Crawford Partnership

The project replaced an existing dilapidated small lean-to rear extension (as can be seen in the images below) with a new glass extension at ground floor level and new timber and glass pod addition at 1½ height level, accessed off the existing stair’s half-landing.  The lower level accommodates a new kitchen/ dining area to relocate the tiny original kitchen that was set within the ground floor living room. The clients, an editor for a national newspaper and his wife who works in publishing, occupy the house with their two young daughters.  As the daughters are growing up and the couple often both work from home, they were severely in need of extra space.

camden-extension-41camden-extension-7The design achieves an open kitchen/ dining area at lower ground floor level that flows into the garden space. It also enlarges the opening in the rear wall of terrace to bring additional light through to what was the gloomy original kitchen area.  The level of the new rear extension is over 1m lower than the original level and the small rear garden was also excavated to match. By digging down, the walls of the small garden have been extended and their perceived additional height achieves a greater sense of enclosure to the garden space giving it a room-like quality. The sunken garden bordered by planting also achieves a reduction in outside noise levels within the space and creates a tranquil enclave within this busy part of the city close to Camden Town.



With the floor material followed through from kitchen to garden, the two spaces can be unified by sliding back the full width glass doors. The garden ‘room’ has been designed in collaboration with the renowned Garden Designer Paul Cooper (who has just appeared within the new Thames and Hudson Book ‘Avant Gardeners – 50 Visionaires of contemporary landscape’).  Part of Paul’s design is a lightbox feature to the rear of the garden that works in conjunction with other lighting to highlight the small palette of planting.

camden-extension-10The first floor pod above is a flexible space that can be used as a home office, play room and guest bedroom. It has been clad using the timber veneer material Prodema Lignum, a material chosen over traditional timber cladding to give a sharper finish to the design. The material is also resistant to weathering and retains its colour, which was carefully chosen to complement the London Stock brickwork. The roof of the pod has a sedum covering which not only has an environmental benefit, but also a visual one as viewed from the top storey of the house.

camden-extension-13Height was a limitation on the design to achieve the access off the terrace’s half landing with a kitchen below and also limit the height of the pod above to appease the planners concerns regarding loss of amenity to the neighbouring property. Because of this, the head heights in the pod and to the space below are tight. However, with the huge floor to ceiling glazed opening within the pod and the extensive glazing and one-and-a -half height space to one side of the kitchen/ dining area, both spaces feel open and light filled. For the project, we worked with the young engineering practice Malsihev Wilson who specialize in Glass structures.

Crawford Partnership, founded in 1997 by Alan Crawfordd, is a London based British architectural firm with an established and growing reputation. The practice is known for its innovative approach to the creation of space and creative use of light.

For more information, visit the Crawford Partnership website.

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