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Individual Home Improvement award

Winner of the Individual House Improvement Award

Schuco Awards-191

Lucy Wood Architects’ extensive reworking of an unmodernised Georgian workers cottage in Chelsea, London, comprises a full internal refurbishment, rear and side extension, basement, and loft conversion carried out by L2i ltd. Central to the project is a double-height, glass-box rear extension, which houses a ‘floating’ timber staircase connecting the living, kitchen and dining spaces across the ground and lower-ground floors.

The box’s aluminium support frame has been meticulously detailed to slot into the brickwork walls, giving the glass a frameless appearance as it disappears into the facing whitewashed brick wall.

The use of large-format aluminium-framed glazing units on the rear elevation contrasts with the existing Georgian building, clearly distinguishing the old and new elements, as well as forming a key consideration in securing planning approval. The dark grey colour of the Schüco window and door units is replicated in the interior detailing, ensuring a seamless design aesthetic.

Natural ventilation is employed throughout the project. The existing sash windows have been replaced and new Schüco units, including FW 50+ rooflights, introduced to encourage air flow through the house. All the window units are double glazed and thermally broken. Solar control glass was specified for the rooflights to

help manage heat gain.

The open-plan nature of the house required a detailed fire strategy, including an automatically opening smoke vent positioned at the top of the staircase. The ceiling soffit around this rooflight is dressed into the opening, concealing the frame, and allowing daylight to pour down the stairwell into the centre of the plan.

The judges were impressed by the elegance and originality of the design team’s environmental approach –namely delivering abundant daylight and natural ventilation. It also felt that the overall design demonstrated a ‘lightness of touch’ not always found on projects of this type.