Kew Gardens Extension

Giles Reid Architects, Richmond, 2020



Photography by Joseph Asghar     Download Original

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The guiding idea is to make an extension that not only respects the qualities of the Edwardian building but also reinvents it

This contrasts with the more typical architect response to this common enough brief, which is to create something more obviously ‘now’. We want a more parasitical relationship between extension and host and an exchange of DNA. We feel this gives rise to the new insights, which invention alone might not.

The site had a south facing conservatory. It overheated in summer, rendering the space unusable. It leaked whenever it rained and was beyond repair. We have replaced this with a gabled brick structure with a large automated rooflight cut through the apex. This maximises day time ventilation and allows night-time purging. When open, it creates a semi-indoor-outdoor dining area and kitchen, which are now joined together. The envelope is heavily insulated and designed for maximum vapour tightness.

New timber patio doors are set out symmetrically along the centre line between existing and extension, blurring the line between old and new. Facing the side alley are two tall timber sash windows, also placed symmetrically. They are protected by a small roof overhang, allowing them to be kept open during much of the year, when it is wet but mild; a temperature range that with climate change, will only increase. Brick piers to the alley continue the rhythm of the chimneys down the main house’s side elevation.

By contrast, the garden elevation has a sand and lime slurry render, painted white. This binds the rear elevation of the extension to the existing rear’s solid render, allowing a sense of the brick construction behind. A low-level string course runs through the two elevations. The interior features a new bespoke kitchen with hand painted finish, natural stone and solid oak work surfaces.

Annual CO2 emissions data (requested in kg/m2/year) was provided as follows: 50gCO2eq/kWh (est.)


  • Begun: Jan 2020
  • Completed: Sep 2020
  • Floor area: 40m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £165,000
  • Funding: private
  • Tender date: Jan 2020
  • Procurement: JCT Minor Works with CDP (for sub-structure drainage)
  • Address: Kew, Richmond, TW9, United Kingdom

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