Lens House

Discreet from street level behind an 1860 North London house sits a spectacular extension wrapped in Corian® and designed by Alison Brooks Architects.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Architect/Designer: Alison Brooks Architects Ltd
Products used: Corian® Blackberry Ice
Photography: Paul Riddle & Jake Fitzjones

A jigsaw of geometric elements, these sleek panels of Corian® clad the exterior of the addition, providing both aesthetic fascination and durable functionality. The structure was designed to give a threefold enhancement to the property: an open plan kitchen/dining space with sliding glass doors at garden level, a cantilevered expansion of the living space above this, opening to a terrace which partially rests over the spacious new garden level home office, which also has its own entrance from a stepped-down patio at the front of the house.

The specification for the cladding was originally for zinc, but at the request of the client and home owner, this was switched to Corian® – the multi-talented material which is increasingly being used to create distinctive, high-performance ventilated facades. Offering longevity, versatility, good fire-rating, UV resistance in selected colours and low maintenance, Corian® is lightweight and easy to work with. Completely solid, non-porous and homogenous, Corian® confidently weathers a range of climatic conditions and is compatible with a variety of fixing systems.

Producing a clean and sculptural architectural form

Alison Brooks says, “This project was a fantastic opportunity to take a highly sculptural approach to a London house conversion and extension that now provides a family home plus workspace. In addition to a full structural renovation, opening up the semi-basement and creating a double height living/kitchen space, the extensions were designed to draw in light from the sky, embrace the garden, and capture a precise view of the massive walnut tree near the house.

The complexity of this building geometry demanded a rainscreen cladding material that is very flat, dimensionally stable and which could be cut to precise shapes. Our original scheme proposed pre patinated rigid zinc cassettes, but our client found an even more suitable and durable alternative in Corian®. The sheets are absolutely flat, and able to be cut to very precise tolerances with mitred edges where several planes meet. The through colour is stable and therefore offers minimal maintenance. The smooth finish of Corian® means that the faceted sides of the building reflect light in varying shades from silver-white to black, depending on the weather.”

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