The project involved the conversion of two semi-detached houses into a single family home, situated in a well-known conservation area in central Oxford. Delvendahl Martin Architects were involved in this project from RIBA Stages 1 – 6 and were Contract Administrators.
The two existing Victorian houses are joined together by introducing a new timber staircase located at the centre of the building’s plan and perpendicular to the original party wall. The existing symmetrical arrangement is rotated to achieve a continuous flow of spaces throughout each floor. The change of level from the entrance to the back garden is negotiated through a second staircase, in this case constructed using recovered bricks from the demolition works, and a new loggia accessible from the kitchen and main living room of the house.
The loggia occupies a rear extension between the outriggers. It was built using materials of contrasting colours to the original houses in order to highlight the new construction and create a strong visual link, making the building look like one house as it was originally intended. The façade is articulated with a series of deep anodized aluminium blades that filter the daylight and mitigate overlooking to the adjacent houses. The glass screen can be fully opened to make the space feel like an elevated terrace, facing the two rear gardens where the original dividing wall was retained. All the fitted furniture and most of the fittings, including lights, door handles and handrails are bespoke, designed specifically for the house.
These highly refined details were a core element in the design and were achieved by collaborating with a number of specialist trades. Through exploring the crafting of materials, a number of versatile components were created to act as a thematic link throughout the design. This is most notable in the handrails and door pulls, the profiles of which have been carefully adapted to suit each application by elongating, rotating and twisting the component, while retaining its fundamental form. Striking a careful balance between reclaimed materials from the building and the insertion of new pieces creates a simple yet refined palette
Despite the challenges posed by the planning context and the technical challenges posed by working with an existing building, the project elegantly marries contemporary design with the character of the existing house. Through the creation of a single home from two properties by way of linking the flexible living and private spaces, the project provides for the specific needs of the family both now and in the future. To this end, the fundamental success of this scheme is in the family’s firm intention to remain there for a long time, reflecting both the versatility of the design and their investment in the property, not just financially but also emotionally.
Location: Oxford, GB
Additional Credits: Structural Engineer: Price & Myers
Main Contractor: Sporn Construction
Glass Contractor: Glass UK
Photography: Tim Crocker