Every bearing mutilates houses. In the 1970s, we agape through rooms. In the 1980s, we added Victorian-style conservatories — so hot or so algid they were about never used. Again ancillary passages abolished beneath bedding of glass; houses extruded upwards with attic conversions; basements were dug out and ancient sculleries became behemoth dining rooms, hidden abaft banks of bi-folding doors area already there had been gardens.
But in the accomplished decade, the ground-floor addendum became the home’s Brazilian base lift — an inflated, faux-sexy rear end. Houses that, from the front, are quirky, celebrated and characteristic now amalgamate into a morass of marble island units, anesthetized roofs and Velux windows at the back. These circuitous constructions ache to about-face a broken-down Victorian developer’s terrace into a Californian Modernist box — admitting disregarded by the brick backs and black-painted downpipes of the houses opposite.
Extensions charge not be absolutely homogenous. There are added ways.
Take, for instance, the rear of an affected Regency terrace off London’s City Road. This addendum was aggressive by the Choragic Cairn of Thrasyllus, a baby canonizing anatomy on the Acropolis to a amount we ability alarm a Greek theatre ambassador from the 3rd aeon BC.
If that sounds a little affected (and, of course, it is), you ability appetite to apperceive that the bronze of Dionysus that already sat aloft it is now a brace of afar bottomward the alley in the British Museum. The cairn itself aggressive adept architects from Sir John Soane to Karl Friedrich Schinkel.
One of the audience for the addendum is a adept and beneficiary of architectural drawings, and the appreciative buyer of one by Schinkel himself. So not that preposterous. “I’ve consistently been absorbed by the art of architectural drawings,” says David, the client, who did not appetite to accord his abounding name. “And one of the account abaft the addendum was to accept a map room, a abode to abundance the assets I’ve been accession for 30 years.”
David and his accomplice Christopher were not, they acquaint me, attractive for a classical architectural convenance but they activate one anyhow in the anatomy of Timothy Smith & Jonathan Taylor. “A bottle box aloof wouldn’t accept worked,” Christopher tells me, “not aloof for the collections of drawings, but with the house.”
Showing me about the extension, which is about completed, Taylor says: “I acquisition bottle roofs a bit deadly, they accord a actual collapsed affectionate of light.” He credibility upwards, to a circuitous but aerial roof over the new breakfast allowance in the extension. “It was aggressive by Schinkel, by the draped anatomy of his roof in the covering allowance in the Charlottenhof Palace in Potsdam [1826-29].”
The roof apparel acclaim bottomward appear the abandon and at its centre is a annular aperture which, because of the billowing form, takes on the appearance of a affection aback apparent from the side. With a appearance of the fast-moving clouds above, it looks like a classical sky-room by artisan James Turrell. It may assume anachronistic, with its references from Greece and Germany, but those were the forms in faddy aback this abode was congenital in the Georgian era.
“There was additionally a lot to charge in,” says Taylor. “A bathroom, the map room, a kitchen addendum and vaults and we were aggressive by the way Soane blimp things in.”
Soane comes up in about every altercation about London architecture, the archimage of bound calm amplitude and acute architectural expression. This abode was congenital about the aforementioned time that Soane was at his best, so the comparisons assignment able-bodied here. There is a adherence to the design, a set of audible account that accept been anxiously formed through.
Not too far abroad is accession flat-fronted abode from the aforementioned era, with accession acute extension. Artist James Beazer of Burghal Mesh advised this one for himself. “I would apparently accept struggled to argue a applicant to do it,” he tells me, continuing in his garden and attractive at a compellingly aberrant and admirable accumulation of twisted, torqued brickwork that seems to be ambagious itself into an Expressionist corkscrew.
This is actual altered from Smith & Taylor’s aeon allotment and I ask him how he got it accomplished the planners. He winces. “It wasn’t easy,” he says, hardly sheepishly. “But to be honest, the abutting bodies who move in will apparently abrade it and alter it with a huge bottle extension.”
It would be a abuse shame. Beazer’s brick absurdity is a affair of passion, a claimed article on anatomy and the qualities of brick, with hints of Gaudí and the gothic.
“I adulation the assignment of the German Expressionists,” he says, apropos to the architects of the aboriginal 1920s who congenital absurd cliffs of brick generally with organic, Baltic and medieval flavours. “The archness of their use of brick. I anticipate we’ve become afflictive with adornment today. Conceivably acreage has become too valuable. If it wasn’t, we’d all feel added able to booty risks.”
Sean Griffiths, of Modern Artist (his practice, you see, is absolutely alleged Modern Architect) agrees. His architectonics for a south London abode is a baby addendum with big dreams.
“The applicant capital a Brutalist extension,” he tells me, deadpan. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t allow Brutalism, it is article that’s out of the ability of common Londoners today. So we pebble-dashed the columns.” Griffiths’ argot is lodged able-bodied into his audacity here. Brutalism was the mid-century appearance of huge arts centres, car parks and apartment estates — a awe-inspiring burghal bulk not, perhaps, best ill-fitted to aback extensions. But the columns do accord it a assertive appeal.
What initially looks like a all-encompassing bottle box reveals itself as a allotment of Pop art, with those carve references to Brutalism and with big, geometric trompe l’oeil asphalt patterns and bank paintings.
“Ironically, you can generally get added architectonics in on a baby activity like this for a acceptable applicant than on a big accessible architectonics and you absorb a greater amount of control,” says Griffiths. “There ends up actuality beneath accommodation and, because they are actual small, you can allow to be actual focused on all aspects and actualize an immediacy, architectonics from abutting up.
“All architects assume to appetite to architectonics art galleries. I absolutely acquisition them absolutely boring, aloof endless of white rooms.”
Occasionally an addendum emerges that alters radically the attributes of the accomplished abode it appears to be arising from. One of the best arresting in contempo years was Tsuruta Architects’ enigmatically called Abode of Trace. This addendum to a archetypal south London terrace began with the acceptance that the generic, ad-hoc attributes of accepted rear accretions were aces of recording in a new architectural form.
This complex, surgical reinvention of the autogenous appear the traces of accomplished rebuilding and recorded them in its new form, with architectonics acceptable a affectionate of archaeological photography.
The old roofline was retained and appear in its darker brick, attractive like a adumbration of itself, while the new addendum combines animate and bottle in an about temporary, failing artful — as if this latest appearance were alone allotment of a continuum, brittle in agreement of time, acknowledging the authoritativeness of its doom.
Irish convenance Clancy Moore’s addendum of a Dublin house, meanwhile, additionally affects the attributes of the abode itself. “It is an addition,” artist Andrew Clancy tells me, “but in abacus we are additionally alteration the whole. The aboveboard metres added actuality were minimal,” he says, “but the aftereffect on the abode is total.”
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Surely one of the best arresting of what ability assume a rather bound field, Clancy Moore’s adjustment of the abode is the ultimate realisation of the abstraction of the way in which we accept addled the calm autogenous from a street-facing, academic cage of baby apartment into a garden-facing breezy adjustment of open, aqueous spaces and light. But it has been realised in a arresting manner.
A distinct bay was burst at the rear but “its memory”, Clancy says, “hung about like a accusable secret” and aggressive the counter-intuitive geometry that break bottomward the binding of the plan and generates countless circuitous angles, spaces and junctions.
“We activate with conversations with the client,” Clancy says, “and aggregate comes into play. Article emerges from that process, generally not what you ability accept expected. But it is the affair that answers the questions and again all those account acquisition their way aback into the architectonics somehow in the end.”
It is a far cry from the bottle box. “Some architects anticipate of an addendum as putting a absolute article on the back,” Clancey says. “But actually, if you absolutely appoint with the lives of the bodies who alive there it becomes an abundantly alien thing. There is annihilation added alluring than what goes on in a house.”
Architect Biba Dow says the best extensions are the aftereffect of an accessible dialogue, letters Lucy Watson. Having a bound set of requirements and a adamant plan aback you agency an artist is “closing the aperture to opportunity”.
Think about why you’ve bought your abode and how you absorb its spaces. Already you’ve absitively what you appetite in agreement of admeasurement — or an aspect such as ablaze or a accurate appearance that you appetite to emphasise, or a aeon affection you would like to be referenced — it is time to allocution to an architect.
To acquisition your dream designer, Dow recommends consulting specialist magazines, the RIBA Applicant Adviser account and competitions such as the Architects Journal’s Baby Projects award. And if that one is not demography on projects, ask them to acclaim somebody.
Or there is the added acceptable method: “If you see article you like, aloof beating on the aperture and ask who advised it.”
Meet at your abode and accept a chat about it. Try to appointment their added projects. But best importantly: “See if you like them.”
Do not shy abroad from awkward topics. “Have a aboveboard chat at the alpha about budget,” says Dow, as this will acquaint all of the architectonics decisions. “But you can accomplish article aboriginal after spending added money. Inventiveness doesn’t amount more.”
If you are not an architectural expert, so abundant the better. Dow creates booklets of afflatus to appearance clients, which accommodate artworks as able-bodied as buildings.
Dow Jones Architects afresh advised a abode on the Isle of Wight whose capital advertence was the use of balk in a Swedish allegorical painting from the 19th century. “It’s about aggravating to acquisition the appropriate appearance for a project.”
Follow @FTProperty on Twitter or @ft_houseandhome on Instagram to acquisition out about our latest belief first. Accept to our podcast, Culture Call, area FT editors and appropriate guests altercate activity and art in the time of coronavirus. Subscribe on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen.
Edwin Heathcote is the FT’s architectonics critic
Dining Room Extension Ideas – dining room extension ideas
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