The extension and refurbishment of a 19th Century, derelict house in London’s Canonbury Conservation Area has reached completion after a lengthy seven year project.
In February 2014 the project was awarded a RIBA London Regional Award in celebration of its innovative design and masterful construction.
Lens House, the property’s new title, has been redeveloped into a multi functional structure, and now acts as a family home complete with a separated workspace for the owner’s photography agency. The project reached completion in January 2012 and the clients were then able to move into the property and make it their own.
Alison Brooks Architects worked alongside main contractors EBCO during the project, whilst Opal Fabrications fabricated and installed all internal and external steel works. Onsite works began on the locally listed Grade B building in May 2007, which had been vacant for the previous ten years and was suffering from major structural decay.
Works were carried out in three phases; firstly major remedial works were undertaken including roof and gable wall reconstruction, the house was then converted on the lower and upper ground floors; finally works commenced on the property’s extensions and landscaping.
The house was extended using two tapered volumes that project into the garden. The first volume wraps around the brick walls at the side and rear of the house to create a home office, while the second volume extends out at the back to increase the size of the first floor living room.
The onsite team excavated the property’s existing basement in order to create an impressive kitchen and family room. The property has been cleverly designed so that openings in the buildings structure capture light throughout the day, making the building feel light, airy and more in touch with nature.
The project posed some challenges due to its location in a conservation area; the design team therefore ensured that the side extension was imperceptible from the street so as not to harm the character of the Conservation Area, and the extension was set back significantly from the street.
Another issue arose in the shape of a TPO protected Walnut Tree situated at the rear of the property. The tree imposed a limit on the length of the new side extension and so Alison Brooks Architects and EBCO had to work around the plant in order to adhere to these restrictions.
Despite posing several design and build challenges the property is now complete and has created an ideal home and work environment for the clients to inhabit.