Bucharest House

This project transforms a late-Victorian terraced property with its typical cellular arrangement of rooms into a free-flowing sequence of contemporary spaces with varied uses. The whole house has been adapted and renovated and the loft enlarged to create a new suite of rooms on the third floor. The building envelope has been holistically upgraded to radically improve thermal performance bringing it from a low D to a high B rating on its Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

At the ground floor two steel frames open up the three traditional ground floor rooms (plus corridor) into one interconnected set of living spaces. Built-in furniture optimises storage around the chimneys and stair including a shoe bench and coat cupboard to ease the pressure on the typically narrow entry. Where the kitchen meets the garden an intermediate space, glazed both to the inside and out, provides a zone for greenhouse planting.

On the first floor the usual front and back rooms are reorganised into an interconnected set of master bedroom, dressing room and bathroom. The split-level floor between terrace and outrigger allows for a sunken bath/shower.

At the top of the building a new curved glulam beam roof creates space for a home office, guest bedroom and shower room. The home office is powered by an off-grid photovoltaic system giving a direct experience of generating and using free energy. Separate sockets are provided so that either mains or solar electricity can be used when desired and a display at the desk monitors the charge level of the battery. When the sun comes out, you can watch the charge level rise and as you plug in appliances you can see how quickly or slowly it goes down. In this way, the solar array becomes much more than just a renewable energy device, it brings the daily rhythms of the weather and the user’s working day into a tangible relationship.   

Awards: Shortlisted for New London Architecture, Don’t Move, Improve! 2019

Photography: Agnese Sanvito