Photographer: Christine Francis

The Journey House by Nic Owen Architects | Semi-detached houses ×

Photographer: Christine Francis

The Journey House by Nic Owen Architects | Semi-detached houses ×

Photographer: Christine Francis

The Journey House by Nic Owen Architects | Semi-detached houses ×

A renovation and extension to the rear of a modest sized ‘ex’ housing commission semi-detached clinker brick 1940’s house in Hampton, located on a generous allotment. The owners required more space, updated amenities and desired a strong connection to the outside. The well travelled couple wanted a tranquil, calm and relaxing environment to call home.

Often it’s the journey and not exclusively the destination that brings joy and excitement to life. The journey through this project begins by entering through the renovated house which includes all new / updated facilities. The existing hallway then directs you through a black timber clad curved tunnel where the end is not visible. The destination is a surprise, the mystery a waits as you track on.

A large light weight timber structure emerges that presents the new open plan living spaces. This tent like space is orientated to the north surrounded with glass and timber and extends outside with a timber deck. Your destination has been reached – for now, a place to relax and dream of travelling. A monolithic external skin wraps around the new extension defining the new space in a tent like manor.

The single vaulted roof line rises up to the north providing a feeling of space whilst still maintaining an intimate human scale. This increased vertical height gave the opportunity for high windows to capture extended views of neighbouring trees. A curved dark tunnel separates the original house from the new works providing an element of mystery and surprise.

The extension runs along the south boundary to capitalise on northern solar gain, reorientating the existing relationship to the backyard. Very little of the works are visible from the street. The new works respect the original clicker brick 1940’s house celebrating the original features. Most of the original house remains and new works are hidden at the rear. From the street it is unclear what is at the back of the existing house.

With clever design what appears to be a modest 1940s clicker brick house hides a modern extension that respects the existing neighbourhood character and retains the original building. The journey through the house is a mystery, the destination close, but not insight. The voyage of discovery awaits new potential visitors. Filled with natural light, vaulted ceilings and the abundance of space this new extension adds modern life to a tired mid-century classic.

"My aim for this project was to create a modern extension which addresses the client’s requirements, challenges the idea of what a renovation should be and create an element of surprise. 1940s housing commission clicker brick semi-detached houses can be thought of as new versions of the well loved Victorian workers cottages. Modest in size but worth respecting and retaining. There are no heritage controls on this house but there was a strong desire to preserve and value the original architecture and streetscape appeal.

The project was a great opportunity to explore the idea of journey, the path one takes exploring the environment, to create an enticing, stimulating workable space. I enjoyed challenging the perception of a typical family renovation/extension. An unexpected outcome to a mid-century classic! This really is a surprise, a curved dark tunnel separating the old from the new” - Nic Owen

Design team:

Nic Owen Architects

Photographer: Christine Francis

The Journey House by Nic Owen Architects | Semi-detached houses ×

Photographer: Christine Francis

The Journey House by Nic Owen Architects | Semi-detached houses ×

Photographer: Christine Francis

The Journey House by Nic Owen Architects | Semi-detached houses ×

Photographer: Christine Francis

The Journey House by Nic Owen Architects | Semi-detached houses ×

Photographer: Christine Francis

The Journey House by Nic Owen Architects | Semi-detached houses ×

Photographer: Christine Francis

The Journey House by Nic Owen Architects | Semi-detached houses ×

Photographer: Christine Francis

The Journey House by Nic Owen Architects | Semi-detached houses ×

Photographer: Christine Francis

The Journey House by Nic Owen Architects | Semi-detached houses ×

Photographer: Christine Francis

The Journey House by Nic Owen Architects | Semi-detached houses ×

Photographer: Christine Francis

The Journey House by Nic Owen Architects | Semi-detached houses ×

Photographer: Christine Francis

The Journey House by Nic Owen Architects | Semi-detached houses ×