ao-ft reconfigures garden wall into ground-floor extension

The project integrates the extension into its context through the reconfiguration of an existing brick garden wall and the addition of two mono-pitched roofs. The ground-floor flat extension is characterised by a series of high-level windows and exposed structural timber located at a prominent junction in Walthamstow.

A ribbon of street-facing clerestory windows provides privacy from the pavement while allowing daylight to enter deep into the space.

A limited material palette of brick, timber and zinc prioritises sustainability and detailing. The newly formed walls are constructed using upcycled brick from onsite demolition, laid in a Flemish bond with lime mortar, optimising waste reduction.

Timber joinery and structural elements are crafted from Douglas fir while natural zinc is used on the fascia to complement traditional lead detailing of the surrounding buildings.

The rear and side extension is configured around two bedrooms, a bathroom and a corridor of floor-to-ceiling storage creating a visual link between the kitchen and garden.

Within the bedrooms, the linearity of the clerestory windows is accentuated through an exposed timber roof structure that is separated from the window frames to conceal the blinds.

Last year, the Walthamstow-based practice completed its own home and studio using cross-laminated timber (CLT) on an infill site.

Architect’s view

The site is on a prominent junction within the conservation area surrounded by several well-known highly crafted homes. In order to integrate the extension into the context, a subtle reconfiguration of an existing brick wall was designed to add privacy from the adjacent sidewalk with a series of timber window frames crafted and positioned above.

Internally, the linear language of the clerestory windows is expressed through the exposed Douglas fir joists and mullions, which have been half-lapped and dowelled, sitting separately from the windows to allow for a concealed blind detail.
Liz Tatarintseva, director, ao-ft


Client’s view

The footprint of our flat is small, so being able to use all the space efficiently and design it in such a way that it still feels spacious, really is a credit to the talent of ao-ft and its vision for our project.

The design process was really exciting; the practice’s attention to detail and care at every step such a joy to work with. ao-ft addressed all our concerns for maximising the natural light balanced with the need for privacy being on a corner block. The bathroom is such a tranquil space while the view down the hall out to the garden gives that sense of length and space.

The functionality of this smaller size home with two children is made possible by the ease of the floor plan and clever built-in storage.
Rebecca Gilmore, client


Project data

Start on site September 2022
Completion date August 2023
Gross internal floor area 61m²
Form of contract JCT Building Contract for a Home Owner/Occupier
Construction cost £186,000
Construction cost per m2 £3,050
Architect ao-ft
Client Private
Structural engineer Foster Structures
Main contractor Axel Keating