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House extension, Primrose Hill, UK

naganjohnson architects & designers

Within the Primrose Hill Conservation Area, London, naganjohnson architects have used a material which works quietly with the new architecture to provide a large extension to this listed property.  Our brief was to increase the size of an existing terrace house to more comfortably accommodate a growing family with 4 children. We made good use of the unusual wedge shaped footprint of the property, adding a new 2 storey glazed and copper extension to the rear. This additional space allowed the living room to be shifted from an isolated position at the front of the first floor to the rear lower ground floor, with the dining room directly above, giving the family spaces a focus around the garden.

The extension is conceived as a single element, an L-shaped roof and wall. Although dramatic, the choice of copper against the weathered original brick, means that this double height and unashamedly modern extension sits comfortably against the historic façade. The copper finish selected was pre-oxidised brown (darker version).

The two main materials selected, copper and basalt, are both used internally and externally, strongly linking the new interior of the house with its garden for the first time.  Standing seam copper on the outside forms the roof and façade and this detail is repeated on the larger planter and a smaller screen.  The ability to create crisp details allowed the architects to design both inside and outside as one.  Copper used internally repeats the standing seam but this time as a cupboard door handle detail.  Skilled contractors wrapped the doors (external and cupboards) in copper, carefully incorporating ironmongery and other details, including a flue-less fireplace in the basement drawing room.

naganjohnson architects  completed a full interior fit out, designing furniture and suggesting artwork to complement the new and old elements of the house. This included polished copper light fittings (by Tom Dixon) in the dining room and small orange copper hinges & ironmongery, which continue the story of the architecture through to more intimate details.

The choice of Brown copper was an important factor in winning planning, Listed Building and Conservation Area consent for this extension.  Seen from adjacent streets and buildings, the extension fits into the traditional landscape of brick buildings, yet from within the garden, the modernity of the copper, glass and basalt is apparent and sets the tone for a modern and welcoming garden.   A copper-clad planter takes central place in the garden and the large Cornus controversa ‘Variegata’ it contains was craned onto the site with the glazing. In spring – the buds on the Cornus perfectly match the colour of the copper!



Private dwelling
Completion date: 
United Kingdom


Type of building: 
Copper used: 


Name, office: 
naganjohnson architects & designers
Address & description: 
2 Pontypool PlaceLondon SE1 8QFtel: 0207 633 0200studio@naganjohnson.co.uk



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