Maccreanor Lavington extends a 1960s London
housing estate with a modern interpretation


Forming a new end to a 1960s housing estate in London, this timber-framed house extension was designed to look contemporary but also to match the aesthetic of the original block (+ slideshow).

Ravenswood by Maccreanor Lavington Architects

London firm Maccreanor Lavington worked closely with architect Kay Hughes – the client for the project – on the extension to her terraced house on the edge of the Ravenswood estate, which was designed by Robert Bailie in 1967 for the St Pancras Housing Association.

The new addition, also known as Ravenswood, nestles in the corner of the terrace. Its form and dimensions were dictated by the requirements of the local planning authorities, who took nine years to grant permission for the project to go ahead.

Ravenswood by Maccreanor Lavington Architects

The extension's roofline matches that of the existing buildings but subtle differences in its proportions and materials mark it out as a modern intervention.

Ravenswood by Maccreanor Lavington Architects

"The design approach has been to treat the project as an extension to the estate rather than just a side extension to the house," the architects explained.

"The objective was to complement the original building in tone and character, while enclosing a very different type of space."

Ravenswood by Maccreanor Lavington Architects

Two strips of glazing that wrap around the corner reference the windows of the existing buildings, but their slightly larger size and the narrower gap between them reinforce the extension's modern appearance.

Ravenswood by Maccreanor Lavington Architects

Timber was used throughout to echo the colours and textural quality of the adjacent brick.

Details including Douglas fir window frames, as well as the larch spandrel panels and fence, ensure consistency with the rest of the block.

Ravenswood by Maccreanor Lavington Architects

"The extension is designed to sit lightly on the corner, and the timber construction reinforces that it is a new addition so as not to compromise the design integrity of the original estate ensemble," the architects added.

Ravenswood by Maccreanor Lavington Architects

The use of wood continues inside, where Douglas fir is applied to the visible framework as well as the walls and floor in the new ground-floor living room.

Ravenswood by Maccreanor Lavington Architects

A pair of bedrooms are accommodated above the living room, while the house's existing spaces have been remodelled to increase the circulation spaces and accommodate new rooms including a study and bathroom.

Ravenswood by Maccreanor Lavington Architects

A garage at the side of the plot was demolished to make room for a terrace that can be accessed from the living room, while the original front garden has been built up and planted.

Ravenswood by Maccreanor Lavington Architects

The new larch fence extends around the corner of the site to clearly identify the end of the terrace and provide a sheltered outdoor space accommodating new trees, planters and bicycle storage.

Photography is by Tim Crocker.

Ravenswood by Maccreanor Lavington Architects
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
Ravenswood by Maccreanor Lavington Architects
First floor plan – click for larger image
  • JMartins


  • Sera

    Can’t stand it. I think my issue is that the exterior doesn’t read as a “modern interpretation” of the 60s style, instead appears a mimicry of something that already comes with negative associations…

  • spadestick

    I think I would use the word “updated” instead of “modern”. Modernity gets in the way of modernism.

  • alex

    Why copy a bad precedent?

    • Cooking The Books

      That’s UK planning for you.

  • oyster

    It looks older that the original building.

  • Kate M

    “local planning authorities, who took nine years to grant permission” …they should be ashamed.

    • Robert Taylor

      I don’t go in for planner bashing but nine years is diabolical. Maybe there is more to it than that; was it the first planning application or were there a series of applications / appeals refused before a compromise was reached?

      Either way the first thing that strikes me is the property is a corner plot and the extension doesn’t go far enough to replicate the existing fenestration and consequently is poorly resolved.

  • Pete

    I love the detail of the interior and the space looks very inviting but externally it’s a complete mess. I’m a huge fan of the aesthetic of the existing terrace, it is very of its time and heroic in its own way, optimistic even. It was fresh then, and you only have to walk around areas in London like the Dulwich Estate to see some fine mid-century examples which are very similar which are loved and cared for and look great.

    However the existing house has been ruined with this pale impostor grafted onto its side. The cladding is dreadful, it looks like a lean-to, the fragility of the timber against the robustness of the brick panels on the the existing house looks like a joke – flat-pack

    Proportionately the windows etc look awful and the colour is downright depressing… Sepia tones anyone. What’s gone wrong?! Maccreanor Lavington produce some outstanding housing projects, and then they come up with this for their own home!? Bad manifesto!

    Heck! It guarantees they wont be asked to do another one-off house project. Maybe the original design was outstanding and this is the poor crappy watered down response you end up with after a long planning battle following petty bloody mindedness, however I think that sadly it’s just a bad design.

    The 9-year planning battle… sorry I don’t buy that… it either means the planners were completely inept or the architects did not have the money to build it so spent 9 years tweaking and amending and re-applying for permission? A really bad project for a normally good practice.

  • Cooking The Books

    Our planning system is a joke.

  • Prole

    Agreed, really nice and understated (in a good way).

  • Ed

    It’s not a bad scheme. Interiors are lovely but the outside is very ‘polite’ / bordering on dull. I don’t get why it’s mimicking the very average design of the existing houses? Could surely be a bit bolder since they aren’t listed. (I don’t think?)

  • LankyRunner

    I like the industrial feel of the exterior. I’d be happy living there!