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Mews House 1 Primrose Hill , London NW1

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INFO

Mews House Primrose Hill 1 and 2 were shortlisted for the 2013 Camden Design Award 'Enhancing Context'.

Mews House Primrose Hill 1was shortlisted for the 2009 RIBA London Region Awards.

Mews House Primrose Hill 1 was a finalist in the 2008 Grand Designs Awards.

Although not listed, this mews house is in the heavily-conserved Primrose Hill village, and was a sensitive site on which to achieve Planning consent to re-build. After protracted negotiations, RDA achieved a consent which allowed demolition and renewal of the house whilst conserving what turned out in the end to be only the upper part of the masonry front facade.

The site at the rear benefits from an L-shaped garden that was almost entirely occupied by an unattractive single-storey 60’s extension. The proposal reinstates a full-width garden by pulling back the rear ground floor extension line.

Modern interventions on the street are discreet, glass and metal in traditional shapes. At the rear, planted terraces (hanging gardens) cascade down in a radical reinterpretation that affords access without overlooking.Conceived like the ‘Tardis’, the house appears narrow, modest from the street, but at ground level opens to a huge modern-life space whose wall elements slide and wrap outside embracing the garden. To service this, the entrance and utilities are compressed behind a stretched wall, and a spiral cellar is hidden under the cathedral-stone floor.

The ‘new-build’ house manages to add a new floor at roof level, pitched to the street with a structural-glass roof dormer and with a rear (south-facing) balcony off the master bedroom. Below this, a green roof is accessed from the 1st floor to the rear across a steel bridge and cam-shaped deck, a shape derived from neighbouring sight-lines suggested by Planning guidance. The bridge crosses a generous, full-width skylight that seems to float the plywood rear living room ceiling away from the main house.

A sliding wall of glass at garden level retracts and disappears to allow the rear living room to flow seamlessly outside; the cupboard walls of the house snake out as continuous enclosing elements to enhance this reading, hiding garden storage, and making a wall that contains plants and a seat. Natural-stack ventilation, rainwater harvesting and full re-use and recycling of demolition materials complete the economical eco-credentials of the house.

RDA have recently completed a project next door, making twins.