Chris Dyson Architect (CDA)
The impressive restoration and expansion of The Cooperage, a former Victorian brewery, is now one of London’s most exciting cultural and culinary hubs, having already earned the architect Chris Dyson Architect (CDA) a raft of industry accolades. This 4 storey private residence doesn’t just celebrate its’ industrial roots with exposed brickwork and black steel but also espouses the contemporary with concrete floors, a feature staircase and a bronze clad vertical extension culminating in a stunning roof terrace. Glazing Vision’s Bi-parting Sliding Over Rooflight was key to unlocking the daylight in the open-plan, triple height living space within the converted basement.
The Cooperage had had a checkered past before the current owners approached CDA in 2015 about making it their dream home. Originally dating from the early 1900’s the building was used for making barrels for local breweries, then had a stint as the HQ of a French polishing company before being unsympathetically converted into a private residence in the 1980’s. The current owners wished to restore the building, retaining its’ period charm, whilst simultaneously seeking to extend it with contemporary spaces and a roof terrace. This brief was not without challenges though – the building was grade-listed, the site was severely restricted with overlooking issues on all sides, and light was essentially only available from above.
CDA set about maximising the space by extending the basement laterally and removing the mezzanine floor in order to create a lofty triple-height, living space. This atrium now serves as the building’s core around which much of the accommodation is structured, and through which the imposing steel and glass staircase passes right up to the top of the house. The ground floor is set on a dramatic concrete landing, suspended within the open plan living and dining space in the basement below. The new vertical extension rises from the top of the building, with the elegant Patinated bronze cladding clearly setting it apart from the brickwork of the original building below while adding a contemporary aesthetic. The property houses 3 bedrooms and bathrooms on the first floor, the master bedroom, ensuite and private terrace on the second, and a larger bronze clad terrace on the roof with stunning views of the capital.
The dramatically re-configured basement, whilst offering an impressively large living space, posed a unique challenge. Sitting below street level and with no direct access to daylight it risked becoming dark and intimidating. CDA’s solution was to install a special Glazing Vision rooflight above the dining area. Manufactured at the company’s factory in Diss, Norfolk this bespoke 6m x 3m Bi-parting Sliding Over Fixed Rooflight was supplied in 4 sections and had to be craned over neighbouring buildings. The minimal internal framework of this enormous rooflight ensured it did not impact negatively on the clean white aesthetic of the dining space below, nor detract from the impressively lofty feel provided by the atrium. The huge panes of glazing ensured that the dining area and adjacent lounge and kitchen areas were now flooded with natural daylight.
Of equal importance to CDA was to provide a means of increasing the ventilation in this basement area. The sliding section of the Glazing Vision Sliding Over Fixed Rooflight is electronically controlled at the touch of a button and travels over the fixed section of glazing to provide a 50% clear opening. The added benefit of this particular type of rooflight, especially where roof space is limited, is that its’ footprint remains unchanged whether the rooflight is open or closed.
One final consideration for CDA and the interior designer, Andrea Larsson Sanchez, was to provide for mood lighting over the 10-seat dining table in the evening. A beautiful chandelier was hung from a framed support attached to the rooflight, manufactured by Glazing Vision especially for this project.
The Cooperage ,already in 2016 the winner of the Sunday Times British Homes Award in the category “ Small Scale Conversion, Restoration or Refurbishment” and earning CDA a shortlisting for “Architect of the Year” , continues to excite the architectural community. In accepting the prestigious RIBA London Award in 2017 Matthew Witts, partner at CDA, revealed that The Cooperage had been a challenging project for the practice, but the result is a “carefully detailed and uplifting building”. Indeed the jury commended CDA and their clients for their “well-considered working of an existing building which successfully revealed elements of the original industrial character and set them off against elegant detailed contemporary additions”.
The Cooperage has also just been shortlisted in June 2016 for the AJ Retrofit Awards 2017 in the category “House over £500,000 “.
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