Architecture firm Whittaker Parsons has successfully transformed a four-story Georgian townhouse in East London into a stunning and sustainable living space. The project involved the creation of two interconnecting extensions that feature steeply sloping roofs with faceted pitches, allowing for ample natural light to flood the interiors.
The extensions are lined with FSC ash-faced plywood and boast generous skylights, creating a bright and airy atmosphere. The ground floor remodel was specifically designed to meet the owners’ requirements, which included a stronger connection to the garden and improved flow throughout the property.
Interestingly, the clients, Anna Mansfield and Ian Warren, are both professionals in their respective fields, with Anna being an architect and Ian serving as a CFO. Despite their expertise, they chose to enlist the help of Whittaker Parsons for their home renovation. This decision speaks volumes about the trust and admiration they have for the architects’ work.
One of the design challenges faced by the team was the property’s location in the Graham Road and Mapledene Conservation Area. However, they approached this obstacle with a philosophy of “building less, but better.” The focus was on enhancing and upgrading the existing structure while maximizing the rear garden space and minimizing the footprint of the extensions.
To achieve sustainability goals, the extensions were constructed using aerated blockwork and wood fibre insulation. The façade was then rendered with a hand-applied cork render, which not only adds a beautiful finish but also contributes to the thermal and acoustic performance of the new walls. This sustainable and ecological building product is a blend of cork and natural hydraulic lime, showcasing the architects’ commitment to environmentally friendly design.
The architects made a conscious effort to prioritize sustainability by minimizing the use of plasterboard and opting for painted timber panels and bespoke ash joinery to line the new space. They also considered the practicality of the materials chosen, such as the durable polished ground concrete floor and hardwearing terrazzo worktop in the kitchen, to withstand the wear and tear of a busy family home.
The open-plan kitchen, situated along the rear party wall and centered around a functional kitchen island, provides a flexible and ergonomic family space that seamlessly connects to the garden, allowing an abundance of natural light to flood the home. The internal design of the interlocking extensions showcases faceted pitches, adorned with FSC ash-faced plywood and generous roof lights, further enhancing the aesthetic appeal.
Whittaker Parsons also incorporated roof lights in the kitchen-dining area and the pitched slate roof on the upper level, expanding the internal openings and inviting more natural light into the space. Upstairs, a new family bathroom was constructed in the original outrigger, featuring a skylight and thermally upgraded walls, roof, and floor, creating a light and airy atmosphere. The three upper floors house five spacious bedrooms, each restored to retain their original Georgian details. The walls are adorned with splashes of warm colors, reflecting the vibrant personalities of the owners and their young children.
Overall, Whittaker Parsons’ innovative use of recycled materials and their thoughtful approach to design have resulted in a truly remarkable transformation of this Georgian townhouse. The interlocking cork-rendered extensions have not only elevated the aesthetic appeal of the property but have also created a harmonious connection between the indoors and outdoors, fulfilling the owners’ vision for their dream home.
Image courtesy of Copyright Jim Stephenson 2022