Montague Court

IF_DO, London, 2018


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Mariell Lind Hansen     Download Original

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Built in 1902, the former synagogue at Montague Court is characterised by its distinctive octagonal form, decorative Hebrew signage and the irregular courtyard gardens that hug its perimeter.

This project features the renovation and extension of an apartment situated within the synagogue, creating a much needed additional space, and enhancing the character of the existing building. Characterised by its creative contextual design, and shaped by the highly unusual geometry of the site, the new extension is slotted directly between the existing brick walls of the synagogue and site boundary.

The structure is formed by seven exposed structural timber posts that support a beautiful triangulated roof formed from bespoke metal flitch plates and deep timber beams. Large triangular rooflights bring north light into the space, transforming a dark and unused courtyard, celebrating connection to garden and sky, and retaining the sun-filled south-facing garden.

Extremely restricted access to the site, via a narrow communal corridor, meant that every component of the project had to be designed to be carried by hand and could measure no more than 2.4m. Structural connections were carefully detailed to achieve long spans with much shorter lengths of timber.

Template rooflights and structural components were made in bamboo to test routes into the building. Renovation works include a continuous ribbon of joinery, which lines the wall between the existing synagogue and new extension, greatly improving liveability, and tying old and new together.

This connection is further enhanced with a material palette drawn from the existing building – including from the terrazzo of synagogue entrance. Montague Court is an ambitious project achieved for a modest budget, demonstrating the added value of innovative design, and with a client who understood the value of engaging a young, energetic design team to get the most out of the project.


  • Begun: Jan 2018
  • Completed: Jun 2018
  • Floor area: 71m2
  • Sectors: Residential, Religious
  • Total cost: £111
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Sep 2017
  • Procurement: JCT Minor Works
  • CO2 Emissions: 2.12kg/m2/year
  • Address: Flat 2 Montague Court, 62 Montague Road, London, E8 2HW, United Kingdom