Our clients have a strong affinity with Scandinavia – Mrs. Penman is Swedish. Their children are being brought up bilingually.
Buying their first house together in Blackhall made a lot of sense with a family on the horizon. While the houses can be a little cramped, there is always room for expansion. This 68m², semidetached, single-storey house is very typical of the suburban housing in this and many other areas of Edinburgh. This house has the benefit of a 50-metre-long back garden, providing the setting for a dramatic addition as a light-filled space for a young family to grow up in. At briefing stage, their storyboard leaned heavily on contemporary Scandinavian architecture, involving the creation of a new cooking, dining and living room space and a first-floor bedroom suite.
The form of the extension was designed to catch the sunlight from early morning and throughout the day and finally to reflect the last of the evening sun down into the double-storey living space off the vast sloping ceiling plane. The extension and development of the attic space more than double the floor area of the house – all on a very tight budget.
Initially conceived with a wrapping of zinc, cost considerations forced a change to reclaimed natural slate and thermally modified timber cladding for the roof and walls. A minimal steel frame adds solidity to the structure, allowing large areas of glazing and cantilevered flooring out into the garden. Careful reconsideration of the geometry allowed 30% of the initial steel structure to be cut out to save further costs.
The large volumes of the project had to be dynamically modelled to satisfy planning policies. The angles give order and control to the layout, while opening up key views from the entrance door through the living space and down the length of the rear garden. The soaring, 5.1-metre-tall, frameless, glazed apex corner cantilevers out over the garden, giving a lightness to the volume. The extension is invisible from the street side of this semi-detached house, but explodes out of the rear façade totally unexpectedly. The slate-covered roof and timber-clad north wall shield family life from the elements and neighbouring properties. The expanse of glass welcomes in the sunlight and reveals views over the large garden towards the wooded slopes of Corstorphine Hill.