Unagru reworks Edwardian house with ‘continuous loop of living space’

Designed for a growing family of five, the extensions are deliberately minimalist in contrast to the original building’s detailed and colourful façade.



The rear extension was partially rebuilt, insulated and clad with white tiles. Internally, natural light was maximised by creating wide openings supported on slender steel columns. The roof-level extension meanwhile accommodates two new bedrooms, with the surrounding roof re-covered in slate tiles, akin to that of the original structure.

On the ground floor, a central services core containing the stairs and cloakroom has been created, around which a sequence of open spaces flows. These are marked by coloured thresholds as well as sliding doors, forming a continuous loop of living space from what was previously a fragmented and dark series of small rooms.



Architect’s view

The original building, albeit extended in 1985, was characterised by small and dark spaces with a central corridor. The extension was too shallow to work as a dining area and was fragmented by the original structure, which had a long, dark kitchen inside the outrigger.

The ground floor’s design draws inspiration from the Krefeld houses by Mies van der Rohe, where large, staggered openings strike a balance between a traditional sense of space (the room) and the openness and asymmetry of modern sensitivity.

We combined this typology with the opportunity of a continuous circular layout around a services core. The lived experience is dynamic, with both children and adults moving through the space in an almost filmic manner, continually discovering new ways to interact.

On the upper levels, the layout is thoughtfully arranged to include three bathrooms, five bedrooms and a utility room, much to the clients’ delight.

The choice of spatial typology based on the room also meant a lesser structural intervention: by maintaining the structure of the rooms and avoiding the open plan we could be more understanding of the building’s qualities.

We took the same careful approach with the improvements to the house’s energy efficiency, aiming to lower the building’s lifetime emissions, with a special focus on reducing emissions from the building process. The green roof and projected rain garden will greatly add to the biodiversity of the site.
Davide di Martino, director, Unagru Architecture Urbanism



Client’s view

Unagru understood what was important to us from our first meeting and they designed a house that we all love. The house was looking tired, it was closed off and dark. Now it is open and filled with light. The open plan space is divided with the clever use of striking portals. This allows the house to have a lovely flow while also retaining defined areas. Loop house is playful and joyful and we feel very lucky to call this our home.
Leo King



Project data

Start on site April 2022
Completion date August 2023
Gross internal floor area 220 sqm
Gross (internal + external) floor area 550 sqm
Form of contract or procurement route JCT contract
Construction cost £384,000
Construction cost per m2 £1,700
Architect Unagru Architecture Urbanism
Clients Leo and Vici King
Structural engineer Structures Made Easy
CDM coordinator Unagru Architecture Urbanism
Approved building inspector London Building Control
Main contractor House Fixers Limited
CAD software used Revit


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