Aperture House

Studio McW, London, 2021



All photographs Lorenzo Zandri     Download Original

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Aperture House is a contextual, client-specific extension to an Edwardian property in north London that reconsiders domestic threshold and connection.

Our clients had clear, but contrary requirements: a home that felt extremely connected, without a single open-plan space; full of light, without too much glazing; and the retention of daylight and significant views from the central room of the house, while adding extra floorspace at the side of the property.

This brief prompted an approach based on carefully placed apertures and openings. The mass of the extension was shifted back by a couple of metres, creating an offset volume that allowed for a small central courtyard to draw daylight into three rooms at the core of the home. Openings in the new extension were set back within deep, angled brick thresholds which were designed to focus views and draw in light at specific times of the day, while allowing long views through the home to the rear garden.

Bespoke joinery was designed to define distinct spaces and break up larger rooms, with bold architectural apertures that allow a visual permeability right the way though the property. A low-beam acts as a threshold, which adds a sense of grandeur yet intimacy to the dining space, where a single rooflight sits directly above a custom-made dining table.

Just as in photography, the apertures in the property affect focus and exposure. The frameless rooflight aperture (in the same proportion as that of the joinery) is positioned within the dramatic pyramidal roof form to capture the southerly light between the neighbouring buildings.

The light is softened and absorbed by the matt, hand-applied clay plaster, which alongside the stained oak joinery, buff brick and reclaimed terracotta floor are grounding and provide a sense of calm and tactility.

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  • Begun: Mar 2021
  • Completed: Sep 2021
  • Floor area: 61m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £110,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Jan 2021
  • Procurement: JCT minor works
  • Address: Cricklewood, London, NW2, United Kingdom

Professional Team