Originally designed by John Winter and completed in 1970, this house is a fine example of an architecture based on a rational approach to structure and construction. The organisation of the interior develops from the geometry of the three structural bays, shown by the divisions between the windows on the main facades, and the main living space is on the first floor. Adjaye Associates was approached with a brief to update the fabric of the original house and construct a kitchen extension in order to enlarge the dining area.In the 1970 house, the external walls were constructed of concrete blocks and clad in ceramic tiles. To improve their thermal performance, the tiles were removed, a layer of insulation was added to the blockwork and the facades were reclad using a similar tile to the original. The windows have also been replaced on a similar basis. Aside from a new front and garage doors, the only change to the main facades is the increased depth of each opening, due to the thickness of the new insulation.

The kitchen extension occupies a blind corner next to the main house. The single-storey facade stands slightly back from, but continues the line of, the three-storey facade and both are linked to the garden by a raised boardwalk. Whether it is open or closed, the new external door strengthens the relationship between the house and garden.Following John Winter’s example, the kitchen extension is a demonstration of a contemporary language of construction. The new facade is constructed of two types of vertical panel, instead of the horizontal perforations of the main house. The interaction between glass as a transparent material and glass as a reflective surface is continued by the sliding door and the three glass panels next to the house: the inner face of these panels has a sprayed enamel finish. The other panels are made from Eternit board and do not have a reflective surface. When the door is closed, half of the facade is reflective; when it is open, this is reduced to a quarter. The panels are the same height as the garden wall that forms the back wall to the kitchen.

Glass House

London, 2002
Project Description