Residential Extension by
Alison Brooks Architects

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Alison Brooks Architects has extended a nineteenth century house in north London by adding two tapered volumes that project into the garden (+ slideshow).

Extension by Alison Brook Architects

The first volume wraps around the brick walls at the side and rear of the house to create a small office, while the second volume extends out at the back to increase the size of the first floor living room.

Extension by Alison Brook Architects

"The extensions were designed to draw in light from the sky, embrace the garden, and capture a precise view of the massive walnut tree near the house," explained architect Alison Brooks.

Extension by Alison Brook Architects

The ends of each block are entirely glazed, while the sides are clad in dark grey Corian panels.

Extension by Alison Brook Architects

"Each trapezoidal plane of the scheme is either fully glazed or fully solid, there are no punched windows," said Brooks. "Both roof and wall planes are one material. This approach creates an architecture without mass and weight. It is more like the folded surfaces of origami."

Extension by Alison Brook Architects

Beneath the first floor block, a new wall of glass slides open to link the dining room with a small patio outside.

Extension by Alison Brook Architects

From here, a concealed door creates a second entrance to the office, which also has a terrace on its roof.

Extension by Alison Brook Architects

Rainwater downpipes are concealed behind the ventilated facade.

Extension by Alison Brook Architects

Other London house extensions on Dezeen include a glazed addition in Hackney and a barrel-vaulted conservatory.

Extension by Alison Brook Architects

See more residential extensions »
See more projects by Alison Brooks »

Photography is by Jake Fitzjones.

Here's some more information from Alison Brooks Architects:


Alison Brooks Architects has extended a nineteenth century house in north London with two tapered volumes that project into the garden.

Residential Extension by Alison Brooks

The first volume wraps around the brick walls at the side and rear of the house to create a home office, while the second volume extends out at the back to increase the size of the first floor living room.

Residential Extension by Alison Brooks

The extensions are part of an overall transformation of a classic Victorian semi-detached villa for a client involved in photography and design.

Residential Extension by Alison Brooks

The extension was designed as a series of large apertures framed and connected by large trapezoidal planes. These openings capture light throughout the day, draw the garden into the house, and frame precise views of a spectacular walnut tree.

Residential Extension by Alison Brooks

Each plane of the scheme is either fully glazed or fully solid, there are no punched windows. This approach creates an architecture without mass and weight. It is more like the folded surfaces of origami. Where the side and rear projections converge, seven surfaces come together at one point.

Residential Extension by Alison Brooks

To achieve the low profile of the ten-sided trapezoidal office extension, ABA lowered the existing basement and excavated a new sunken courtyard to form a street-facing office entrance. This new lower ground floor level connects workspace and house.

Residential Extension by Alison Brooks

On the garden side, the building rests lightly on the ground with undercut walls to avoid the walnut tree’s roots. Inside, the rooflight geometry funnels light into the workspace throughout the day. A roof terrace cuts into one of the roof, generating a light reflecting plane and heightening the sense of suspended surfaces.

Residential Extension by Alison Brooks

The living room’s projecting bay window focusses on the walnut tree like a picture frame. It also pulls light from above into the living room through a segment of its roof. Beneath the bay window a new wall of glass slides open to link the dining room with a small patio outside. From here a concealed door creates a second entrance to the office.

Residential Extension by Alison Brooks

Where the original living room once was, ABA has opened a new double height volume. This space draws south light deep into the house, and like a ‘great hall’, creates a powerful visual connection between the original upper ground floor entrance hall and kitchen/dining space.

Residential Extension by Alison Brooks

The folded geometries of the extensions continue into the house to become surfaces punctuated by steel fireplaces, a cantilevered kitchen and other ‘inhabited walls’; a variety of framed settings for modern family life.

Extension by Alison Brook Architects 

Architect: Alison Brooks Architects Ltd London
Team: Alison Brooks, Alex Warnock-Smith, Rob Liedgens, JamesTaylor
Location: Islington, London
Type Of Project: Residential
Main contractor: EBCO, Steve Epstein
Structural Engineer: Orla Kelly Ltd
Conservation Consultant: Hutton & Rostron
Client: Private Family
M&E Consultant: RHB Partnership LLP
Quantity surveyor: Adair Associates
Start/Completion Dates: 2006/2012
Size: House 400sm Extension 70sm
Project Value: £700,000
Quantity surveyor: Adair Associates

  • johnlautner

    What happens when it rains? Be interesting to see the runoff patterns after a few years. Nice volumes though, at least for the completion…

  • http://www.render-arquitectura.com Raul Alfaro

    WOW. Curious and risky project in a very consolidate neighborhood. Modern, singular and very personal design and style. Nice photos with detail of outside spaces. What about any inner photos?

    VERY GOOD JOB. Congratulations from Barcelona.

  • jamesbond

    It doesn’t rain in London ;)

  • Dezeen

    Hi Raul, we'll be adding some extra images to this story as soon as we receive them. Amy/Dezeen

    • JuiceMajor

      Any chance of adding more high-res pictures of this project?

    • http://www.render-arquitectura.com Raul Alfaro

      Hi Amy. Thanks for this information. I expect the extra images.

      Raul.

  • jaycee

    Well you can *say* its an “architecture without mass and weight” but when it looks like a stealth fighter has crashed into the side of what was once an attractive London semi I’m not sure its true.

  • http://www.ebcobuild.co.uk Steven Epstein

    Great to see the photos. We built it and it was a labour of love.

    Alison Brookes have a fine eye for detail as does the client who were a pleasure to work for. Very brave and committed to their vision.

    Steve@ebco

  • JuiceMajor

    This is such a dream… the design really does justice to the surroundings :)

  • http://www.zazous.co.uk Zazous

    I wish we had planners that were as adventurous as this in Broadstairs! Is it Grade II listed, does anyone know?

  • donkey

    Man… to have that money, let alone space to do that in north London. I’m hoping this’ll be included in Open House next year.

  • http://www.mrbudget.co.uk Konrad

    A Marmite piece of architecture, for sure. Personally, I think it’s absolutely beautiful! I love it. Inspiring, to say the least.