WHEN architect Russell Hunt was commissioned to create a side extension on a modern 1970s house in Lewisham, the property presented him with a series of confronting challenges.
The kitchen and dining room were on the ground floor, while the living room was on the first floor, leaving the home feeling somewhat disconnected to its owners.
But the end of terrace, three-bedroom house is on a hill and the land slopes upwards from the front to the back, and from one side of the house to the other. To complicate things even further, the property is wider at the back than the front, and adjoins a public pathway.
‘The whole site is unusual,’ says Russell, who runs his own architectural practice Russell Hunt Architects. ‘Fortunately, the clients have architectural backgrounds, and between them and me, and some very skilled structural engineers and contractors, we were able to come up with a solution.
‘It was all about sharing the vision.’
That highly creative design solution resulted in the Folded Wedge Townhouse — a folded zinc roof, in sections, with a steeper pitch at the front and a shallower pitch at the back.
The windows and skylights are in Velfac, which are aluminium on the outside and timber inside, and complement the exposed roof beams that have been used to infill the steel frame.
The ground floor footprint has grown from 430sq ft to 667sq ft and now accommodates the kitchen, dining area, family living room and a utility and guest room/study, so that family living is much more connected.
Clients Richard Robinson and Hilary Satchwell have two growing children and had been living in the house since they bought it in 2006. They were desperate for more space. But when they investigated moving they found that an extension, rather than a new property, was more likely to give them what they wanted.
‘I didn’t want to move. We love living here,’ Hilary says. ‘The extension, which took five months to build, really works for us.
‘We have more family living space and the boys each have their own bedrooms. We’re really pleased.’
Now the extension has won joint third prize in the Don’t Move, Improve! 2019 awards. The annual competition run by New London Architecture (NLA), seeks to reward the most innovative designs in the capital, where space is at a premium, and attracted more than 200 entries.
The judges loved the creative wedge-shaped extension, which they praised for creating a tall, light-filled, semi-underground space with a folded roof, while reorganising family life and maximising space.
PICTURE: OSCAR KORNYEI
‘The best entries to Don’t Move, Improve! cover a wide range of ways that architects have transformed ordinary spaces and rooms into interesting and inspiring ones,’ says NLA chairman Peter Murray.
‘This property — and the joint third place winner — are particularly interesting because the architects took unremarkable houses and turned them into something very special.’