Rodić Davidson Architects

Corner Cottage, Wimbledon

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The site turns a corner of a terrace of nineteenth century houses. The Wimbledon Society believes it was originally a school run by a single lady, subsequently extended and turned into residential use. The layout suffered from awkward internal circulation, two entrances, and long corridors. The site, however, is spectacular and has long south easterly views. We had worked with Pauline and David, our clients and friends, on two occasions before – most recently on North Vat in Dungeness. This project presented an entirely different challenge. Constraints to development were defined by the proximity of neighbours, the sloping site and the prominence and sensitivity of the corner site on the escarpment in the Conservation Area.

Changing the linear, cellular nature of the existing house involved a radical rethink to the spatial organisation. The house was taken back to a bare brick skin. An extension to the front facade served to allow a new entrance in the middle of the plan, enabling the formation of a largely open plan ground floor. The dining table is positioned at the heart of the space with associated functions for living, such as the kitchen, ordered around. The new basement has a generous volume with full height glazing opening onto a new courtyard lightwell. The construction process was challenging at times and the finished result is testament to Pauline’s tenacity, skill and care.

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