Larch House

IMAGO architects, London , 2018


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6 View from larch stair 

Jenny Harborne     Download Original

  • 6 View from larch stair    
  • 1 front before    
  • 2 front after    
  • 3 back before    
  • 4 back after    
  • 5 deck    
  • 7 stair    
  • 8 stair    
  • 9 garden stair    
  • 1 Concept Sketch    
  • 2 Existing Plans    
  • 3 Proposed Plans    
  • 4 Back Elevations    
  • 5 Side Elevations    
  • 6 Detailed Sections    

Home extension on a sloping site for garden level Guest Suite with kitchen level Dining Deck over and internal and external access stairs

We were asked to design a rear extension for this house on a sloping site. We found that as the garden was just a storey lower so we could provide a dining deck to the upper ground floor on top of the new guest suite at garden level, which is accessed via a generous spiral stair.

The differing cladding elements applied to the walls identify the separate blocks of accommodation. The stair, shower and bedroom volumes have vertical or horizontal larch cladding, mirror and render. This also serves to break the mass and avoids overpowering the adjacent small garden.

We used low energy high thermal clay blocks for the walls and pre-cast floor beams for the floor and deck, as they integrate the insulation requirements within their depth, in an effort to keep those elements as slim as possible, to reduce the dig and increase the space created.

For visual continuity from the kitchen dining area above, the spiral stair is in stained oak. The treads span between a central hollow steel post and the walls, and a flat steel handrail ribbons simply from the landing to the lower ground floor.

We had expected some minor issues with the site levels to occur, but not to find the sewer so close to our proposed new walls. We had to create buildovers and integrate the bulk inconspicuously into the construction, producing the key garden bench in the sunniest spot. Also serendipitously an excess order of blocks gave rise to the external floating larch stair design.

Painting the whole house and windows externally and resurfacing the front and side pathway has upgraded it from a post war infill to a contemporary addition to the street.


  • Begun: Mar 2018
  • Completed: Dec 2018
  • Floor area: 45m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £210,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Aug 2016
  • Procurement: JCT Minor Works 2016
  • Address: Dinsdale Road , London , SE3, United Kingdom

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