Black Box

Dickson Architects Limited, London, 2017


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Refurbishment and extension of residential property in a Conservation Area

Dickson Architects have revamped a Victorian house in the Arlington Square Conservation area in Islington, North London.

The rear closet wing was extended full width providing a large open plan kitchen dining space which spills out into the rear courtyard. A set of frameless glass bi-folding doors were selected as they had no mullions and glass handles, achieving this seamless relationship. The line of glazing was purposely set back to provide a deep reveal and deep shadow. This was tied together with the installation of a polished concrete floor which carried through to the exterior. To maximise floor to ceiling height the extension floor was lowered.

The dining space is framed with a single pane frameless roof light which floods the space with natural light.

Shou Sugi Ban black charred larch boards provide the outer skin. The charred texture of the cladding was chosen to complement the traditional London Stock brick on the rear facade. This is capped by a custom folded metal shadow trim. As part of the drainage design, to avoid the need to accommodate internal pipework the existing rain water pipe was rerouted and hidden behind the parapet.

Upper floor rooms were reconfigured to provide a generous master bedroom and bathroom with adjoining study space. The study was fitted with full height lacquered timber joinery to fulfill the client’s brief for a library. The original ceiling was removed and a new sloped plasterboard ceiling was introduced with a flush roof light. These simple moves have provided a well-proportioned and naturally lit space. In order to reduce the cost of a new staircase the existing stair was overclad in oak floor boards. A new frameless glass balustrade allows the stair to meet seamlessly with the landing.


  • Begun: Jun 2016
  • Completed: Jan 2017
  • Floor area: 95m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £190,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Apr 2016
  • Procurement: JCT Intermediate Form of Contract with Contractors Design Portion
  • CO2 Emissions: -kg/m2/year
  • Address: 49 Baring Street, Islington, London, N13DS, United Kingdom

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