Rodić Davidson Architects

Brick House

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Situated between Finchley Road and the Jubilee line, this site presented several noise insulation challenges, but it also offered an unusual degree of freedom for its prime Central London location. The mid-twentieth-century building which occupied the site was of negligeable architectural quality, and in a perilous state of disrepair. It could therefore be swept away to make way for a contextually sensitive yet visually striking newbuild, with the endorsement of Savills Planning, and the appropriate consents from the London Borough of Camden.

Brick House maintains a harmonious relationship with its surroundings. It stands no taller than its neighbours, and it pays credence to the local vernacular with relief brick detailing. Yet the project succeeds in doubling the internal floor area and improving the sensation of space through the excavation of a voluminous basement, the recalibration of floor levels, and the creation of dormers so as to allow for an additional floor at roof level.

The break from the language of the previous property is registered in almost all aspects of the design, from the crisp zinc roof to the sliding doors and floor-to-ceiling picture windows. A subtle reference to the better-quality designs of the era is made in the form of the polished walnut staircase, which runs the full height of the property. But there is nevertheless a demonstrable commitment to making it new.

Noise insulation was of paramount concern for the client, the hum of motor traffic and electric trains proving intolerable for her neurodiverse child, so we needed to develop innovative solutions. By lowering part of the garden to basement level, we were able to reduce sound exposure by 15 dB, extending the potential outdoor amenity of the property. In retaining the south and west boundaries at ground level, we could lessen the intrusion of the sunken courtyard, dampen sound, and provide space for planting. An additional protective measure was rubber ground insulation for the basement floor, set within three metres of the Underground below.

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