Lens House by Alison Brooks Architects

The Lens House, a futuristic double height extension of a Georgian Villa in north London, by Alison Brooks Architects has been selected for the 2014 RIBA Manser Medal shortlist, the UK’s most prestigious housing design award.

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“The project involved the remodelling and extension of a four storey semi­ detached Victorian Villa in the Canonbury Conservation area. The brief was to restore the derelict villa and extend it to create a family home and office space for its clients. The project has been realised in three phases over six years.

The design takes into account the constraints and challenges of working within a conservation area and the proximity of a TPO’d walnut tree. The architects devised a strategy where the house and the new extension create a modern adaptable home. The design incorporates a rich and engaging series of spaces relating to each other and to the garden and every element of the design is beautifully considered. Whilst all the main spaces are inherently aesthetically pleasing, they are also deeply practical and the detailing is a delight. The house has been upgraded throughout to meet with 21st Century building regulations and uses passive solar technology to enhance energy performance.

The extension to the house is virtually invisible from the street and when viewed from the garden appears as an object that could be from another planet. The innovative use of Corian as an external cladding material further emphasises this crystalline appearance. The geometry of the extension is a complex series of trapezoidal planes, the junctions throughout are precise and accurate and are a testament to the care and skill that has been lavished by the architects. The architects have transformed this wrecked Victorian house into a wonderful place to live and work; it is dramatic, light and welcoming, practical and well considered at every level.

This project, whilst modest in size, is highly ambitious in its design intentions, is a beautifully conceived and executed project and is testament to the client’s determination to procure a project of real quality.”,

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