House Extension, 19 Grove Terrace

Sanei Hopkins
London, 2010

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Data

  • Begun: Nov 2008
  • Completed: Jul 2010
  • Sector: House
  • Total cost: £100,000
  • Address: 19 Grove Terrace, London, NW5 1PH, United Kingdom

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This property is a relatively modest terraced house which happens to be listed. Most significantly however, it was Sir Geoffry Jellicoe’s last house and the garden has featured in many books and articles about his work

He lived there for almost 50 years and the garden was a constantly changing ‘extension’ to his own professional interests.

Our brief was to create an extension that connects with both the ground and basement levels. The main challenge was to deal with the significant change in level between the basement and rear garden area to create a simple transition between inside (and low down) to outside (and high up).

Jellicoe’s intention for his uncharacteristically long garden was to create the illusion along it’s length through planting of ‘carrying humanity into the heart of nature’, describing the garden as a ‘Giardino Segreto’ with a sense of mystery at the end.

We see the extension as a catalyst to the progression from the house to the end of the garden. From the lower ground floor there is a single step into the link, and then two steps into the extension. Three steps then take you to the external sunken garden and finally four steps bring you to the garden level.

The concrete walls of the extension are curved in plan which makes them inherently stronger in retaining the earth and the existing historic boundary walls above. Like a droplet of mercury, the glistening oval extension seems repelled from the brick boundary walls; it’s surface tension keeping itself to itself.