Hertfordshire studio Michael Collins Architects added a box-shaped, two-story extension made of copper and charred larch to a row house next to a train station in south London.
The extension and renovation was called the Jewelery Box, a nod to the way the Victorian terrace and subdued extension hide the more lively interior of the house.
Micheal Collins Architects added a box-shaped extension to a Victorian terrace
“Our customers have said that the house has a jewelry box quality where a simple shape is pulled apart to create a more complex, lighter and more structured interior,” said Michael Collins Architects founder Michael Collins.
“The extension to the rear is designed as two cubic volumes that slide over a base and between which glazing areas are arranged,” he told Dezeen.
The extension on the ground floor contains a kitchen
The studio extended the house to the rear with two block-like additions, which were complemented by the various ad hoc extensions for row houses in London that are often seen on train journeys around the city
On the ground floor there is a kitchen and dining area in an extension made of oxidized copper, while a bathroom on the first floor is located in a smaller extension clad in charred larch trees. This is crowned with a roof terrace accessible from the second floor.
The extension opens to a small garden
“The blocky exterior was inspired by the simple poetry of stacked, box-shaped, self-made ‘add-ons’ and ‘closet returns’ that can be seen on the back of the railroad terraces and reflect the diverse lives of its residents. We weren’t thrilled to try one to create highly ordered composition, “said Collins.
“A central topic was how to create a feeling of spaciousness in this cramped location and how to approach the steep natural dam in the rear area.”
Gold and Inchyra Blue are combined in the kitchen
The studio clad the outside of the house in dark industrial materials to reference the nature of the site along the railroad tracks and the former owner of the house who was a chimney sweep.
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“The uses of oxidized copper and charred larch were determined by context,” said Collins. “In particular, the urban memory of a famous chimney sweep in south London who ran his business from the property, but also the sooty quality of the masonry along the embankment and the oxidized metal infrastructure along the way.”
The interiors contrast with the dark exterior
In contrast to the subdued exterior, the interiors were decorated with light colors, with cabinets and surfaces in Inchyra Blue combined with gold backsplashes in the kitchen.
“An aquatic datum made from sink panels hides utility space, pantries and a toilet that wraps around the interior walls of the kitchen to create a sense of immersion and continuity with the trained plants on the garden walls,” added Collins.
The studio also renovated the main house
Overall, the architect is of the opinion that the house fits its location and doesn’t make sense anywhere else.
“We hoped the project would be as idiosyncratic as its surroundings,” he said.
“The project grew from the site and two very unique customers. These factors influenced its direction, size and material, and we like to think it wouldn’t make sense on any other site.”
Jewelery Box was awarded a longlist in the Dezeen Awards 2020 in the “Small Interior Design” category. This category was won by the smart home by Sim-Plex Design Studio with four bedrooms in Hong Kong.
The photograph is by Jacob Milligan.