Wimshurst Pelleriti commissioned to unite two 1930s semi-detached houses in order to provide 1100 sq. ft. of contemporary open plan space.
How were you commissioned?:
We were recommended via a consultant - then commissioned directly with the owners.
What was the brief from the client and how much were they involved?:
The client appointed us to unite two 1930s semi-detached houses in order to provide 1100 sq. ft. of contemporary open plan space. The brief was to connect the two properties with minimal disruption to the buildings' core structure, and to do so in a way which allows the two houses to be separated again at some point in the future. We ensured that our design accurately reflected the client's personality and vision. Although from the outset the client was keen to take a contemporary approach, they were encouraged by our initial sketch proposals which showed how their aspirations could be achieved. We photographed the back of the property from the end of the garden and sketched their ideas on top which ultimately formed the brief for the project.
How did the brief affect the materials and design choices?:
The glass fronted extension creates a huge picture window for the back of the house that overlooks Barnes common. The extension was designed with an exposed steel frame insulated from the inside in order to express the structure on the outside. Leo Pelleriti, project director said, "To create as seamless a window as possible we had to go for the highest quality glazing and minimal aluminium frames." We managed to deliver not only a unifying structure capable of subdivision at a later date, but also a contemporary intervention.
How did your previous experience help you with this project?:
Leo - the lead architect - has had considerable experience at large international practices Renzo Piano and Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners and has built on this since founding Wimshurst Pelleriti. All of his combined experience can be argued to have helped with this project.
Can you explain the layout of the project:
The roof of the single height extension provides a large open terrace for the first floor bedrooms. Floor to ceiling double doors open out onto a large decked area screened by frosted glass panelling on each side and opaque glass panelling at the rear. Inside the new living space, a large fireplace open on three sides marks the central point at which the two houses join and creates a prominent feature in the middle of the room. The fireplace marks the separation between the kitchen and the lounge area and the chimney wall acts as a semi-partition between the two spaces. On the other side of the fireplace, we designed a minimalist kitchen. The long white cabinets at each end of the extension contribute to the overall symmetry of the living space. The interior fit-out and colour scheme is minimal and contemporary. Engineered oak flooring provides a warm surface contrasting with the grey stone terrace directly beyond the sliding doors.
What problems or challenges did you face?:
One of the challenges that we had to address was the complex relationship between the cladding, the steel frame and the glazing. This required very careful detailing in order to ensure the high level of finish that this project demanded. We also worked very closely with Building Control in order to meet the stringent demands of modern building regulations which are not designed to accommodate external steel structures.
What do you feel were the most unusual design elements of the project?:
The most unusual aspect of this project was the response we made to a complex brief that required us to unite two semi-detached buildings with as little disruption as possible to their existing framework. We fused the houses into one contemporary structure that can be easily re-configured into two in the future. In doing so, we also created a striking and unusual 15m picture frame window which was formed by spanning Fineline glazing across the whole of a new rear extension.
What makes it special?:
The 14m wide picture window that opens up the house to the garden makes it very special. The Fine Line glazing has extremely narrow mullions, removing obstructions thereby accentuating the feeling that the garden is part of the room.
Please provide details of product names and suppliers where possible.:
Fine Line sliding doors - http://www.finelinealuminium.co.uk/