Douglas Fir House

Christian Brailey Architects, London, 2021

 

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The project reconfigures and extends a studio flat that had been unlovingly shoehorned into the back of a converted Edwardian house set within a conservation area in Muswell Hill, north London.

Conceived as an extension to the garden rather than the house, the extension seeks to nestle into the lush green landscape of the private garden and woodland park of Alexandra Palace beyond.

Rethinking the stock response of a full-width rear extension, the design takes an identical massing but locates it along one side of the garden and sinks it down to reduce its impact on the host building and neighbours. This allows for more views and connections to outside while creating a unique location within the middle of the garden to inhabit.

The ambitious scheme increases the footprint by over 50 per cent to provide a separate bedroom with the ability to create a second bedroom for family growth. Generous floor-to-ceiling heights were improved and the north-west aspect allows for greater levels of glazing to provide a naturally lit, open-plan volume.

The existing property was entirely uninsulated and single glazed, which had led to severe black mould and numerous damp issues. The entire thermal envelope has been upgraded with internal woodfibre insulation, chosen for its breathability, acoustic and thermal properties.

The prefabricated timber extension has full-fill woodfibre insulation walls and a woodfibre warm deck roof, which is continuously wrapped with a woodfibre external sheathing board to prevent any cold bridging. High-performance double glazing, airtightness membranes and a lime parge coat greatly improve the airtightness and breathability. MVHR provides fresh, filtered air throughout the property without losing heat.

Rainfall is captured and redirected to the garden via perforated drains and a soakaway to meet the watering needs of the garden.

Data

  • Begun: Jul 2020
  • Completed: Mar 2021
  • Floor area: 65m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £125,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: May 2020
  • Procurement: JCT home owners contract
  • CO2 Emissions: 1,300kg/m2/year
  • Address: Muswell Hill, London, n10, United Kingdom

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