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Block House featured in Grand Designs magazine

The innovative use of materials in Block House is featured in the Architecture update section of the current issue of Grand Designs magazine.

Block House is a bold and unusual extension to a Victorian end-of-terrace house in Stoke Newington. Focused around a double-height internal courtyard; the project employs a palette of richly coloured and textured materials to create a unique and unusual family home.

nimtim were approached by a young family who had recently bought an end-of-terrace Victorian house in Stoke Newington. The house was in a state of disrepair and priority was placed on upgrading and creating an open plan ground floor family space. The existing lean-to conservatory was demolished to allow for a new side extension.

Nimtim introduced a double height internal courtyard to the centre of the house with a glass block wall to one side and an opening rooflight above. This space acts as a focal point for the entire house, organising and choreographing the spaces around it: bringing light and ventilation to the parts of the house that might otherwise be dark and airless.

The courtyard is expressed differently; borrowing materials from the garden to distinguish it from the living spaces, reinforcing it’s identity as a conceptually external space.

Cost effective and robust materials, more often associated with industrial rather than domestic architecture, are used to create a quality of warmth and lightness. The structural walls of the extension are all built in grey cement block with exposed aggregates - matte on the outside and polished internally. The sand-blasted glass blocks create a diffused light internally and emphasise the translucency of the space. These glow at night from the internally lit space, illuminating and breaking up the exposed side flank wall.

European Oak flooring, terracotta tiles and the soft pink concrete kitchen worktops also add warmth and an ethereal quality to the interior space. Use of contrasting materials, such as the earthy texture of the oak and terracotta used for the floor and light bright materials, such as glass and polished concrete blocks used for the envelope, work together to form a harmonious and contemporary palette. At the rear, a large face-fixed sliding door allows most of the rear elevation to open out onto the new garden.

The project has created a new family home that is bold and honest in its use of materials whilst retaining a sense of warmth and domesticity which the clients and their young children have embraced.

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