Harmood Street

Belsize Architects, London, 2020



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Belsize Architects were asked to devise proposals for a client who owned an undistinguished house in Camden that no longer served their requirements, but was in a good location from which they preferred not to move

The client wanted to gain significant extra space on a very constrained site (yet without the expense of a basement), to create a mini gallery for their own art collection, and to achieve a better, more open layout, incorporating very good storage space.

Harmood Street is the full reconfiguration and extension at side and rear, as well as within the existing loft, of a small semi-detached house that was cramped, badly laid out and poorly built. Permission was successfully gained, in this Conservation Area, for proportionately large side and rear extensions, with provision to lower the floor in the extension to create more height for display of the collection, as well as open it up to a small rear patio.

The very awkward layout was completely reimagined and a double-height living room, with small mezzanine accessed by a ladder, created on the upper floor. Both the extensions were designed to maximise light. The decision was taken to form the rear extension from timber, as well as use timber for the finishes.

Very simple and unobtrusive materials were selected, mainly plywood and white rubber floors, to enable appropriate emphasis to be placed on the art pieces rather than the materials themselves. Inexpensive ply was used to clad walls and stairs, for the fitted joinery and even as a floor finish, but detailing still remained key so that the built-in furnishings, whether fridge doors, bannisters or bookcases remained homogeneous while also retaining their own style and interest. We were pleased that the result far exceeded the client’s expectations.

Annual CO2 emissions data (requested in kg/m2/year) was provided as follows: 2.97 tonnes


  • Begun: Nov 2019
  • Completed: Jun 2020
  • Floor area: 112m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £282,000
  • Funding: private
  • Tender date: May 2019
  • Procurement: Traditional - JCT Intermediate Contract
  • Address: Harmood St, London, NW1, United Kingdom

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