31 KINGS CRESCENT LONDON N4 2SZ
A family house built against the blank gable wall of a terrace of houses in north London.
The house is at the end of a corner property facing Queens Drive, and abuts the end gable wall of no 29 King’s Crescent. The site was previously occupied by two garages probably built in the 1960s.
The site was subject to a number of attempts to secure planning permission over the years. Certain constraints on any future building emerged in the process:
The new building footprint had to match the of the garages
No windows were permitted above the ground floor in the wall facing the Queen’s Drive house
The rear of the house had to be set back 2m from the garden boundary to no 53 Queen’s Drive
The site was dominated by the blank gable wall – a feature of streets of Victorian terraced housing so common that one barely notices them. In cases such as these where the rear garden they face is so long they take on a presence on the street that is dull at best and obtrusive at worst.
The house contains 3 bedrooms – one at ground floor. The single storey part contains the living room with a 3.4m ceiling height. It is designed to be both Lifetimes Homes and CfSH Level 4 compliant.
Conceptually the front elevation “stretches” the existing street elevation round the curve of the stair to the recessed front door. The indentation this creates separates the orthogonal volume and marks it out as the new “bookend” to the street.
The brick cornice spans the curved and square volumes. Its soffit aligns with the soffit of the extended eaves that runs along the street to reinforce the integration of the new house with the existing. The lower single storey section matches in height the lean-tos behind the Queens Drive house creating a stepped transition between the scale of the terrace and the garden. Its front elevation aligns with all the other bay windows, and acts as both a visual links and formal secondary “bookend” to the street.
The brick colour was chosen to resonate with the weathered stocks of the neighbours without attempting an exact match. It is the only facing material. The three forms of the house – one curved, and two square – are conceived as being carved from a single piece. The depth of the brick colour gives it important visual weight. It is applied to the curved soffit of the cornice over the front door and a matching mortar colour was specified in order to ensure consistency of effect.