Charcoal House

Yellow Cloud Studio, London, 2017


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Charcoal House is as a crisp, rectangular corner plot extension, clad with black timber, wrapped in glazing and set in a concrete landscape that highlights its sharp angles.

The brief was to transform a dark, fragmented space into a bright kitchen/dining area, bringing natural light and garden views far into the house.

Our proposal dealt with the challenges of having a property exposed to the street together with being located on a slope so respecting privacy and producing a seamless transition between floor levels were important design goals. The new building stands tall and mysterious towards the side street with a blind wall while opening up with large windows towards the top, front and back.

The wrapped glazing strip allows for garden views to extend all the way to the new study room and helps create a weather protected external patio with integrated seating. Careful sequencing of interior and exterior spaces gives an overwhelming feeling of openness and connection.

The redesigned back garden sits several steps lower than the house, ensuring privacy while outside.

Black vertical timber cladding is applied to the extended volume, with only a strip of glazing separating the side wall. The patio is treated as a negative space, removed from the main volume and therefore clad with light larch timber. All landscape is poured concrete, with steps forming an external seating area and blending seamlessly with the back garden.

The result is a black enigmatic volume that conceals bright, open spaces which are constantly transformed by natural light casting playful shadows of the geometry and that uses transparency through its sequence of spaces, giving exciting visual connections to normally blind parts of the house.


  • Begun: Sep 2016
  • Completed: Apr 2017
  • Floor area: 102m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £200,000
  • Tender date: Jul 2016
  • Procurement: JCT Contract, after competing tender process
  • Address: London, United Kingdom