The existing house occupies a former toilet block of the Old St Swithun’s School that relocated in 1929, after which the building became a library. Parts of it were converted into residential units, one of which became Austen House. The owners wanted to add more square footage to the building, but due to the lack of space on the site, this required an unconventional approach.
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The architects designed the addition to sit over an underused entryway; it is supported by two slender steel columns on opposite sides of the passage, clad in wood and features narrow windows that accentuate the verticality of the volume. The structure was partly prefabricated off-site in order to minimize its impact on the surroundings.
“When viewed from the road, the vertical timber cladding helps to draw your eye up over the gate through the new extension and to the sky beyond,” said Adam Knibb. “We used the materials for a similar effect along with adding a contrast to the horizontality of the brickwork within the surrounding existing buildings.”
+ Adam Knibb Architects
Photos by Martin Gardner