Barnsbury Copper House

Jake Ireland Architects, London, 2017


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A two storey extension, with contextual spatial composition and material selections, supplying varied and sociable internal/external spaces, with enhanced daylight and views.

32 Thornhill Road is a late Georgian residential terrace property, located within the Barnsbury Conservation Area. The project was for the erection of an extension at first and second floor levels with general internal and external improvements. The spatial composition and the selection of materials were carefully chosen to complement the local area and neighbouring buildings. The main purpose of the proposed works was to supply a generous main bedroom (in place of the undersized conservatory) and comfortable, varied and sociable internal and external living spaces, with enhanced daylight and views.

The new upper level is lower in height and less visually obtrusive than the previous conservatory (made possible by lowering the second floor). The main bedroom is set back from the road, and opens onto a large, private terrace with views over Barnsbury.

The glass roof and wall enclosing the new staircase supplies an uplifting view from the hallway of the main bedroom. This glazed connection, together with the faceted form of the upper copper-clad storey, substantially reduce the perceived massing of the building as viewed from neighbouring properties to the rear. The form closely relates to the adjacent extension at No.30 (also by Jake Ireland Architects, completed 2007).

The copper cladding and bronze-anodised window frames are durable and low-maintenance, and rhyme with the brickwork and the timber cladding to No.30.

Daylight now enters the dwelling from several directions, modeling the spaces throughout the day, and supplying passive solar gain.

The ground living space was remodeled, and a new family-sized kitchen (with a large rooflight) installed.


  • Begun: Apr 2016
  • Completed: Sep 2017
  • Floor area: 89m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £238,000
  • Funding: Private developer bridging loan
  • Tender date: Nov 2015
  • Procurement: Traditional bespoke
  • CO2 Emissions: 152kg/m2/year
  • Address: 32 Thornhill Road, London, N1 1HW, United Kingdom

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