Copper House

Butcher Bayley Architects, Cambridge, 2020



Photography by Matthew Smith     Download Original

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BBA have completed a copper-clad extension to a Victorian mid-terrace home, in the Mill Road Conservation Area of Cambridge

The site encouraged an ingenious solution, with a modestly sized side and rear extension composed of a series of stepped and angle forms, in response to issues of overlooking, daylight and access.

To compliment the bold geometric forms, the extension is clad in vibrant pre-patinated standing seam copper. Utilised alongside the Cambridge-blue hue of the copper are reclaimed Cambridge stock bricks at low level and the ‘chimney’ abutting the neighbours pitched roof, to match the original Victorian terrace.

Window and door details are made from oak, to further compliment the copper, including a cantilevered external window seat. Conscious of views from the upper floors, the stepped roof of the extension is completed with a wildflower meadow roof. Careful consideration was given to the sequencing of the new spaces and the experience of moving through the home.

Rooms shift in size, with undulating ceiling heights to signify different uses, and shaped so that the geometry of the rear extension can be clearly read internally. The opening in to the extension is aligned with the first of two large roof lights, 1.2m wide and 2.4m long, it raises the ceiling line from the already generous 2.5m of the original Victorian house to a dramatic 3.3m.

The position of this rooflight is designed to flood the otherwise landlocked Study with natural light. Rising even higher, to 3.8m, is a narrow slot rooflight (0.6m wide and 1.6m long) positioned over the kitchen sink. Where previously there had been a cramped kitchen, utility room and former outside toilet, a new open plan Kitchen and Dining space has been created. The result brings together bold geometry, colourful materials, and varied textures – to reflect a young, modern family.

Annual CO2 emissions data (requested in kg/m2/year) was provided as follows: Copper Cladding Global Warming Potential, 9.58E-1 kg CO2-Eq


  • Begun: Nov 2018
  • Completed: Jun 2020
  • Floor area: 127m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £110,500
  • Funding: private
  • Tender date: Sep 2018
  • Procurement: Traditional, RIBA Domestic Building Contract 2018
  • CO2 Emissions: ,9.58-12-kg/m2/year
  • Address: Mill Road Conservation Area, Cambridge, CB1, United Kingdom

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