kimbrook house, Cambridgeshire

  • alterations

Located within Cambridgeshire is Kimbrook house, a detached grade II listed dwelling. The clients were looking for a sympathetic design that enhances the existing setting and neither detracts or overpowers from it. The proposals for this scheme were not to extend the listed structure but create a semi-independent structure away from it. A single storey family room extension has been carefully placed away from the key historic facades, this ensured minimal disturbance to the historic fabric and setting; allowing the listed structure to remain dominant in scale and presence. The use of glass links allows visual separation while creating a flow between the listed building and extension. Two key materials used were dark copper cladding and minimal framed glass, both materials harmonise whilst emphasising the listed buildings current style. The use of bio-diverse green roofs allows the existing habitat below the footprint of the buildings to be retained, this also softens the buildings into the site when viewed from the upper levels of the 3 storey listed structure.

The clients were looking for a sympathetic design that enhances and celebrates the existing setting. It was imperative to neither detract from this nor overpower it but it was important to be able to have a greater appreciation of the setting from within the building. This was achieved by creating a balance of traditional and contemporary materials, craftsmanship and design of which glazing and its associated properties became a key element and design driver. Fundamentally the ability to use the glass in this way was achieved through the use of Schuco framework and systems. Our design intentions with the glass and framework no doubt echoed the intentions of the original architecture, with minimal timber framed glazing in casement and sash windows as well as doors. The delicate and intricate timber profiles sought to minimise the interruption of the light entering the building and the views out, at least so far as the technology and systems available at the time would allow.

As time and technology have moved on, our architectural aspirations to maximise views and light remain the same but the ability to achieve this, whilst also minimising heat loss, has greatly improved. In original parts of the building requiring repair or reinstatement, the original timber famed profiles and singled paned glazing were authentically reproduced. However where the new structure was added it is almost fully glazed and held by minimal Schuco framing systems to achieve a clear yet sympathetic contrast between old and new and importantly a clearly legible building history.

The proposals for this scheme were to minimise the impact on the listed structure by creating a new semi-independent structure away from it. The use of glass links allows visual separation while creating a physical link and flow between the listed building and extension. This use of glass was also key to providing an additional space with a significantly enhanced connection to the beautiful gardens, an aspect lacking from the limited glazing in the original parts of the listed building. Linking together some of the existing listed structures with glass brought the outbuildings into more regular use and made the most of existing spaces, minimising the need to add more or have an otherwise greater impact on the listed building.

The recessed Schuco framed fully glazed links offer a unique ability to pass through the listed structure whilst also being able to appreciate the external detail of it. It provides a powerful connection to the history of the building allowing both the inertial and external spaces to be appreciated at the same time. This is enhanced by the courtyard arrangement of the outbuildings and positioning of the glass links and the linked nature of the fully glazed extension. Thanks to improvements in glazing and framework performance this can be achieved with minimal intervention to the original listed structure itself. Satin opaque glazing (L2i to elaborate on/correct spec) was also used to allow light into downstairs shower room from the roof, whilst ensuring privacy form the upper floors, making use of an otherwise dead unlit space between 2 existing listed structures.

A single storey family room extension has been carefully placed away from the key historic facades, this ensured minimal disturbance to the historic fabric and setting; allowing the listed structure to remain dominant in scale and presence. The use of bio-diverse green roofs allows the existing habitat below the footprint of the buildings to be retained, this also softens the buildings into the site when viewed from the upper levels of the 3 storey listed structure. The high-quality materials used to ensure longevity and that the proposal sits well against the quality of the materials in the original dwelling.

The roof on the extension was used to shelter and protect the otherwise fully glazed addition. It also served as a diaphragm to stiffen the structure and allow minimal columns without cross-bracing across the glass walls. Incorporation of rainwater goods and services into 4 minimal columns into 4 allowed fully glazed uninterrupted elevations. Cross ventilation and circulation was achieved through a pair of large opposing Schuco sliding doors; these also offered a far greater connection to and ease of use of the external spaces. The use of a copper roof canopy was to shelter the fully glazed walls from excessive solar gain and other aspects of the climate and weather. The roof and floor are also over insulated to compensate for the reduced thermal performance of the glass itself. The overhanging copper soffit profiles also assist in making the roof structure feel lighter, more delicate and less imposing on balance.

Two key materials were used in this project these were the naturally weathering copper cladding and PPC aluminium framed glazing, both materials harmonise whilst emphasising the listed buildings. The play of light and reflectivity between the copper soffit and the glass is a lovely feature. As is the contrast between the traditional hand applied craftsmanship of the copper and the harder crisper lines of the glazing and Schuco frames. The transparency and reflective nature of the glass help it sit comfortably within the garden and courtyard contexts without overpowering the original listed setting. The dark PPC finish of the frames provides a robust no weathering and minimal maintenance finish, which sits back against the shadow of the glass and room behind to minimise its impact where exposed.

Overal the scheme provides the clients with a greatly enhanced building, bringing out the best of the original dwelling and new additions alike.

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Awards

Winner – National Home Improvement Council Award for best use of Aluminium systems for windows, doors & facades 2017

Shortlisted – Build It Awards, Best Architect/ Designer for a Renovation or Extension Project 2017