This rear extension and refurbishment to a Victorian terraced house in South London, applies a questioning approach to produce an unconventional arrangement of interlocking geometric glass volumes which reveal a sequence of compelling interior spaces.

“Here we challenged standard solutions to planning rules which determine a 45-degree angle between surrounding properties, instead achieving the maximum envelope possible with purely rectilinear forms that are staggered and stepped at the boundaries. This complex design of interconnected forms is drawn from the geometry of the site and its adjacencies – with volumes extruded in different directions, some sitting beneath the original house and others expanding outwards.

The detailing of this structure features a technically complex steel-frame construction reminiscent of the museum case, combining fragility with solidity in a manner that represents an antidote to the frameless glass extensions of the past decade. The rhythm and logic of rectilinear offsetting is echoed throughout the rest of the ground floor plan, with undulating levels designed to curate views and delineate spaces. Moving down through the space from the kitchen at the front, views of the extension reveal themselves through a journey of discovery – the space is not in one glance. This slowing-down allows for surprise, intimacy and drama.

Material choices and lighting emphasise this passage, transitioning from the darker enclosure of the kitchen towards the brighter open spaces that lead to the garden – with terrazzo surfaces in varying tones mirroring this progression. Shifting levels create a language of both useful and playful ledges, steps, borders and planters.

These principles and material choices are continued throughout the rest of the house across two further floors, including the creation of a new master and a guest suite on the second floor. A bespoke terrazzo handrail forms the spine of this material journey, linking spaces throughout the house which unfold in a sequence of visually stimulating rooms where texture, graphics, colour and finish have been selected for their theatre and tactility.”

Images © Gilbert McCarragher