Tower House

Dominic McKenzie Architects, London, 2018


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Tower House is a Grade II-listed house in Barnsbury, Islington that has been renovated and extended by Dominic McKenzie Architects.

The original house was constructed in the 1830s and had previously been extended to the rear in the 1980s. This previous addition was poorly insulated and contained the house’s only bathroom, located a full storey below the bedrooms.

The new 2½-storey rear extension, which replaces the 1980s extension, creates a slender tower at the back of the house, giving the project its name. This vertical element was inspired by the towers constructed by competing merchants in the Italian hill town of San Gimignano.

The upper part of the tower contains a new bathroom, which is now located in much closer proximity to the bedrooms. Beneath the bathroom a dramatic new 1½ storey space is created, which contains the lower ground floor dining room. This is discovered on arrival via a new balcony from the existing staircase half-landing.

To the rear of the dining room, a new timber sash window echoes the retained sash window at the rear of the bathroom, but is considerably taller (3.5m). Similarly the two timber French doors adjacent are 3m high. These large glazed elements produce a playful, unexpected shift in scale on entry to the lower ground floor and garden.

This project fulfils Dominic McKenzie Architects' ambition to create an original, contemporary and sensitive intervention within the context of the Grade II-listed building.


  • Begun: May 2017
  • Completed: Mar 2018
  • Floor area: 120m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £248,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Jan 2017
  • Procurement: JCT Minor Works Building Contract
  • CO2 Emissions: 4700kg/m2/year
  • Address: 48 Brooksby Street , London, N1 1HA, United Kingdom

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