Courtyard for a wine merchant

Bunkall Architects, London, 2019


Subscribe now to instantly view this image

Subscribe to the Architects’ Journal (AJ) for instant access to the AJ Buildings Library, an online database of nearly 2,000 exemplar buildings in photographs, plans, elevations and details.

Already a subscriber? Sign in


Max Creasy     Download Original

  • 5.6_ths_aj    
  • 5.4_ths_aj    
  • 5.0_ths_aj    
  • 5.1_ths_aj    
  • 5.2_ths_aj    
  • 5.3_ths_aj    
  • 5.5_ths_aj    
  • 5.7_ths_aj    
  • 5.8_ths_aj    
  • 5.9_ths_aj    
  • 5.10_ths_aj    
  • 5.11_ths_aj    
  • 6.1_sketch_mirror_elevation    
  • 6.2_sketch_wine_storage    
  • 3.0_folded_plan_0    
  • 4.1_thsl_location_plan    
  • 4.2_thsl_002a_e    
  • 4.3_thsl_002a_f    
  • 4.4_thsl_021_f    
  • 4.5_thsl_028_f    
  • 4.6_thsl_029_g    
  • 4.7_thsl_050    
  • 4.0_hand_drawn_1_2_mirrored_door_threshold_detail    
  • 2.0_site_prior_to_works    
  • 2.1_reclaimed_wood_at_yard    

An internal courtyard has been created by removing the existing infill extension to a Victorian terrace in East London

Whereas most projects involve creating additions, this primarily involved taking away. An existing infill extension to a Victorian terrace was removed to create an internal courtyard enclosed on all sides.

A concrete box dressed in oak creates an outdoor terrace accessed directly from the upper ground kitchen, and below provides cellar storage for the client, a wine merchant. The external use of the ‘domestic’ oak as decking, cladding, handrails, windows and doors blurs the distinction between indoor and outdoor and gives the space a feeling of an ‘outdoor room’. The intention is for this ‘room’ to ultimately become overgrown with plants growing in pots up the walls, off the window ledges and climbing the spindles.

At lower ground level sits a flat also owned by the client and rented to friends. The flat’s bedroom sits adjacent to the courtyard. The client did not want the courtyard to feel shared with the flat (although they didn’t mind being overlooked) so a flush one way mirrored door was inserted that allows required light into the bedroom but on the side of the main house, reflects the garden. Contrastingly at night when the bedroom lights are on, the door forms a lantern onto the courtyard.

The surfaces of the new courtyard space make extensive use of reclaimed materials. The oak comes from flooring originally used in French cattle railway carriages, the hexagon terracotta tiles are reclaimed and the Portland Stone, which was in the space as found but taken up and reconfigured, was originally reclaimed from the Parternoster square development.

The existing party wall is painted in a Earth Red colour, creating the sense of an excavated space. The colour seeps through the new oak windows that overlook it creating an inside outside dialogue that invigorates both house and courtyard.


  • Begun: Nov 2018
  • Completed: Apr 2019
  • Floor area: 11m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £42,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Oct 2018
  • Procurement: JCT Minor Works
  • Address: Thistlewaite Road, London, E5, United Kingdom

Professional Team