Work has started on a project by Neil Dusheiko Architects to extend and revamp a Victorian semi-detached property in Shelford, Cambridge. The scheme for ‘a young Anglo-American family’ with three children features a ’monolithic’ Petersen brick single-storey side and rear addition, a zinc-clad loft extension and a charred timber-clad spa at the bottom of the garden.
We wanted to create a clear distinction to the parts of the house we were retaining to be read in contrast to the new extension.This is denoted through a carefully selected pallet of materials, which creates a clear separation of the old dark tones, becoming lighter as one moves to the taller, loftier spaces towards the garden.
The extension feels like it is enveloping the existing home with its warm tones of hand-made brick, creating a new skin to the older brick. There is a clear datum line, with brick below and plastered angled ceilings above. The skylight slots create dynamic shadows that reflect off the parapet walls internally, bouncing light into the rooms as the sun passes throughout the day.
The client’s brief was to remodel and modernise the entire house and garden as well as create an outbuilding for leisure purposes at the bottom of the garden. The ground floor has been substantially enlarged with a single-storey ground floor extension which wraps around the northern and western façades.
The street-facing collection of rooms will be refurbished and updated, while a timber core situated in the centre of the plan hides all the storage and utility spaces for the home.
On the ground floor the new modern extension with vaulted roof spaces links to the existing shell of the building with large glazed skylights, allowing the existing façade to be seen as one moves from the corridor spaces to the open plan kitchen/dining spaces. The house has been designed as a home for a growing family; the home study area is designed to be customisable and grow with the children as they develop.
The upper floors have been refurbished with a modern palette of materials and the insulation throughout the house has been substantially improved to reduce heat loss.
A zinc-clad loft extension caps off the top of the house, containing the master bedroom with views over the garden to the north. The side extension is visible from the main road. The design strategy was to utilise the hand-crafted bricks to echo tones similar to the original weathered Cambridge clay brick of the period property. Based on the dimension of Roman brick, the slender brick modules will create a monolithic single-storey side and rear extension to the property which will be subservient to the character of the original property.
The form of the extension was designed to create a naturally illuminated north-facing rear extension. This was modelled to maximise north light through a rear glazed façade, paired with carefully positioned skylights. Utilising daylight analysis software, we modelled the sloped roof rear extension to minimise the impact of light onto neighbouring properties, while maximising natural light internally.
The vaulted roofs are planted with an extensive sedum bed – allowing views of greenery out of the first-floor windows. The garden has been planted by landscape designer Jane Brockbank and features a layering of hard landscaping made of Petersen brick, deep, verdant planting beds and a formal lawn. In the centre of the garden there is an ordered vegetable garden which forms the transition to an informal meadow. The meadow planting forms a foreground screen to an outbuilding made of charred timber at the rear of the garden.
The clients work from home and have their own home office space during the day and night will be able to unwind within their secluded home spa retreat. Located at the end of their garden, a shou sugi ban (charred timber-clad) outbuilding will nestle within the landscaped rear garden screened off from the main road, noise and children. The home spa will house a sauna, Japanese soaking tub, shower, gym and relaxation room.