Wistaston Cottage

Simon Gill Architects, London , 2014

 

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A two-storey extension to a house to provide new a dining/living room and bedroom suite

Looking out at Putney Heath and the spire of Holy Trinity Church, Wistaston Cottage is a semi-detached Gothic revival house which had a leaky, cold, 1980’s conservatory to it’s rear.

The brief was to remove this and create a new two-storey extension, housing a kitchen/dining room and a bedroom suite above.

By building in timber (white oiled larch) and thus keeping the extension lightweight, we were able to reuse the existing plinth on which the conservatory stood – saving cost and environmental impact. A splayed bay giving access to the garden is supported off a single post which is expressed by extending it upwards, allowing a bespoke designed bird bath to be hung from it – carefully placed to be in view from the dining table.

The conservation officer insisted that the timber cladding was fixed horizontally, so the boards to the curved splay were steam-bent on site using traditional boat building techniques. The curved timbers were also used for the bird bath cradle that supports the copper bowl.

All the doors and windows are carefully picked out with projecting reveals to sharpen their definition, giving the precise, finger-sized details of traditional architecture. The rainwater hopper was designed and made bespoke to avoid the banality of off-the-shelf rainwater goods.

The overall form of the extension attempts to oscillate between abstraction and figuration, conversing with, but not aping the existing house and context – the broken ridge of the roof rhymes with the hipped gable of the existing French gothic one, the curve of the plan repeats that of the window arches on the front elevation. The timber boards loosely evoke the railway gothic of the mid -19th century.

The addition aspires to richness, delight and to being contextually harmonious; but also to setting up a resonance, a benign strangeness, providing the possibility of what Aldo van Eyck described as 'the persistence of scope…. for undefined and latent multi-meaning'.

Data

  • Begun: Mar 2014
  • Completed: Oct 2014
  • Floor area: 55m2
  • Sector: House
  • Total cost: £50,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Jan 2014
  • Procurement: Bespoke
  • Address: Wistaston Cottage, 65 Medfield Street, Roehampton, London , SW15 4JY, United Kingdom

Suppliers

  • Timber frame windows: Olsen UK
  • Doors, Timber Cladding, Decking, Internal Oak Pane: Russwood