Creating a contemporary twist on Edwardian principles, Studio McW has sensitively extended and internally rebuilt the RR Residence in Clapham with a refined material palette.
Unlike other extensions to the neighbouring houses, this property celebrates the existing proportions that the owners loved through the use of a central axis that offers an open connection across the ground floor. Visually, this encourages views and access onto the rear garden and lets natural light pour in.
A refined and minimalist material palette ensures the extension is in keeping with the original property. The house is tied together “through a limited set of warm and raw elements; washed oak, board-marked concrete and pale clay brick,” Greg Walton of Studio McW explains. Through the use of the central axis the architects have optimised the joinery throughout the home, instead of expanding the rooms in ways that aren’t traditional to the original property.
Acting as an anchor for the axis and the centre of the rear façade is a visually heavy in-situ cast concrete column. Architecturally this is a functional aspect but it also acts aesthetically to divide the extension into two volumes. Both of which are “built in pale grey brick with pale grey mortar to give a monolithic appearance to contrast the existing property,” describe the architects.
“Subtle detailing, such as turning the brick on edge, references the height of the internal oak exposed ceiling joists. The sawn timber shuttering used to texture the concrete façade matches the height of the pale brick, along with the concrete sills and coping.”
One of the main challenges was to ensure the property felt calm, minimal, and comforting. This meant that the detailing of the materials was a precise as possible to bring extra finesse. For example, the architects explain that “the brick detailing externally reflects the height of the exposed oak joists internally, the sawn timber shuttering used to texture the concrete façade matches the height of the brick and aligns exactly.”
Attention was placed on the in-between spaces to celebrate the original Edwardian openings. The thresholds are a defining aspect of the new and unobtrusive layout, as they internally align exactly with the roof-lights and joinery below. These quiet, bespoke details help enforce this calm and unfussy atmosphere the owners were looking for.
“We lined the openings with oak and embedded the joinery into the architecture of the home to create wider and deeper openings that were more pronounced and purposeful. We wanted to celebrate the original Edwardian architecture of the building; the efficiency and proportions.” tells architect Greg Walton. Not only does the house have a more modern feel without losing the sense of its history, but it now includes new services and insulation to improve thermal performance.
Architecture: Studio McW
Structural Engineering: Blue Engineering Kitchen Joinery: Idle Furniture
Concrete Specialist: More than Matter
Photography: Lorenzo Zandri
Learn more about London-based architecture and design practice Studio McW.
Take a look at other architecture stories on enki.