The Wilkinson Street project sits in the Albert Square conservation area. It sits in the middle of a mid-Victorian terrace built in the 1860s and is one of those parts of the city that escaped from the bombs of the blitz during WW2 in Lambeth, South London. The clients acquired the house a few months before their first son was born, so they wanted a home to grow their family, where to withdraw from the buzz in the city, and host their collection of paintings. We found the rear outrigger was in a derelict estate with a bad quality roof, and we decided to rebuild it, improving the envelope’s thermal performance to make the house energy efficient. The Conservation Area Officers were very strict and only would allow a brick façade to rebuild the outrigger. So our approach has been radical: to dismantle the previous extension keeping as many of the original bricks as possible and reuse them when rebuilding the new one. A new side infill containing the dining room completes and visually connects the ground floor space to the rear garden through a big trapezoidal window framed in a big matt black aluminium cladding. We create openings in walls establishing new relationships between spaces connecting new and old, making the flows within the house more dynamic and, discovering new visuals previously hidden. On the ground floor, an enfilade of rooms links the rear garden with the bay window on the street side, and a new entrance to the living room exposes the stair going up to the floors above. The Wilkinson Street project has been an opportunity to think of how to rebuild an outrigger in a contemporary way given the tight constraints of budget, time and strict guidance from the Albert Square Conservation Area. We were bound to use imperial bricks to rebuild the rear outrigger but we did so using a modern cavity façade. That means that the brick is no longer behaving as a load bearing wall, it’s a cladding, and as such, we can take advantage of it. The lintels and the big corner sliding doors show what we can now achieve because the structure is a steel frame. The result is simple and elegant, all the gutters and downpipes remain integrated within the design strengthening the presence of the brick volume hovering over the ground floor space, which now looks weightless. The oat colour lime mortar recalls the traditional construction, matching the Yellow London Stock it contributes to give the new construction that understated sophistication we were searching for. The big glass panes connecting inside and outside bring the garden into the new kitchen and dining space, so it is now an active part of the internal space. We wanted to be hyperlocal and have collaborated with South London craftsmen to design and produce the bespoke furniture and side infill aluminium cladding.
London, United Kingdom
Joseph Eyles - HA-EY Structures, Susie Manby - Interiors