With its dramatic high pitched roof this imposing house, built in 1904, now under an historic preservation order, presented the practice with an interesting challenge: to deliver a scheme that would provide the client’s additional spatial requirements over three levels; and, at the same time, articulate a contemporary response that would not be overpowered by the scale of the existing structure.

To begin with the historic building was renovated back to its original facade and internal plan; this involved painstakingly removing more than 80 years of minor alterations, conducted in close consultation with the local preservation authority.

The subsequent clarification provided the basis for the new development. The result is a striking synergy between the traditional and the contemporary, the latter’s volumetric composition delivering a robust orthogonal form; this comfortably generates the additional space required - and, moreover, enables the provision of roof terraces to levels one and two, each secluded from the other. These private balconies take full advantage of its south-facing orientation, reintroducing the garden as an integral part of the property. The lower window’s precise placement within the rear elevation continues this theme, elegantly framing views of the garden’s oak tree.

As way of subtly binding the old and the new, the villa’s front pedestal is reconfigured within the design as a substantial plinth in fair faced white concrete, the ground floor and basement demarcation perfectly aligning with the existing front detail. A sunken courtyard extends and celebrates the scheme’s new subterranean space in a contemplative and measured way.

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