Panoramic House



Client: Private
Budget: Undisclosed
Location: Hampstead
Status: Stage 3 (Developed Design)

Structural Engineer: Float Structures
Arboriculturalist: Landmark

Creating a place to be immersed in the garden.

Panoramic House is a large, detached house in the Reddington & Frognal conservation area of Hampstead. The house benefits from a large South facing garden screened by mature trees on all three sides. Our client, a family with teenage children, wanted to extend the lower ground floor to create more living space and a better connection with the garden. 

The site naturally slopes down to the rear and, whilst the existing ground floor overlooks the garden, it’s removed and somewhat disconnected from it. Extending into the garden presented an opportunity to drop down and become immersed in it. This notion of immersion in the garden has become the overriding criteria against which design decisions are judged.

One of the main challenges in developing the design of the extension was working with the constraints of mature trees in nearby proximity. We worked closely with arboriculturists to establish the extent of tree root protection zones and these have influenced both the footprint of the extension and the lower floor level within and adjacent to the extension. The result is finely calibrated to avoid damage to the nearby trees.

In becoming immersed in the garden, we have sought to strike a balance between openness and overexposure. In terms both of  overlooking/ issues of privacy and also overheating as a result of solar gain during the summer months.

The resulting extension cascades down from the host building, dropping in floor level almost a metre into the garden (gaining significant headroom internally as the ceiling remains consistent). This change in height brings the living space right into the garden but also subtly creates zones within a large open plan living space. 

The extension is defined by an open glazed corner facing into the garden and adjacent, terracing decks. Large format sliding glazed doors come together at the corner, unobstructed by structure and facilitating a panoramic view of the garden. In the open position, the corner is completely open, blurring the boundary between inside and out.

The extension is clad in hit and miss projecting timber battens, creating texture and depth, and capped with an overhanging and tapering roof to shield from the elements. The roof mitigates solar gain during the summer months when the sun is high in the sky. The underside of the overhang is clad in mirror polished stainless steel that reflects the surrounding greenery and helps to dissolve its form. 

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