Bermondsey House is located within a housing development of varying typologies, dating back to the 1980s. The existing rear facade of this house has relatively small windows and doors facing a small garden. There is little connectivity between the living spaces and the garden.
The brief was to create a good-sized living room that utilised the garden space with good connections between the garden and living areas.
The main focus was to create a living room extension that felt like it was part of the garden. The client had expressed that the extension should maximize the direct sunlight while a west wall should shade the room from overheating in the afternoon in summer.
We were inspired by the ordinary scene-setting: a simple, opened door can create a cosy sitting allowing people to enjoy the continuous landscape between indoor and outdoor. With vertical greeneries on the fence as the backdrop of the living room, sitting in the living room is like sitting in a walled garden.
Since fences are close to the extension and the solid roof is needed for
shading, we tried to maximise the direct sunlight into the room from the opening around it by maximising the height of the glazing.
To achieve this, we have designed thin steel arms with high-performance
insulation to create a thin roof edge without compromising the roof energy performance.
We took inspiration from Chinese and Japanese gardens to create a rock garden as the main garden feature. It is also a vista at the end of the viewing corridor from the front entrance.
We reclaimed the old brick from the existing brick fence to create a natural shape planter which will also be part of the lateral support structure for the new brick fence. Part of the planter is expected to grow moss or weeds on its porous surface and open joints. One day the brick planter might be weathered and become part of nature.
The construction work started in September 2021. Due to the pandemic, sourcing material supplies has been an issue and it still affects projects to this day. The team has found clever ways to be flexible and find alternative materials that are available with shorter lead times. Flexibility was also needed (and a new garden design) when the client purchased a strip of adjacent land during the construction phase.
The contractor is a family run business that dedicates its time to focus on one building site at a time. Their full-time commitment shows its fruits in quality, attention to detail and positive adaptivity to changing site conditions.
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