“House of Trace” may sound like a new American TV series, but it is the name of a worthwhile result of an architectural concept: a small house, a (barely) freestanding building that completes a row of terrace houses. They crosshatch narrow parcels of land in South London, UK, forming a buildinghistoric construct, that the architects say can be read “as a product of the circumstances, the time, the place, the people involved, even the amount of money that was available at the time”.
Terca Sheerwater Silver Yellow Stock
House of Trace, United Kingdom ©Tim Crocker
This approach led to a sensitive intervention, but not an inconspicuous continuation of the old characteristic style. On the contrary: viewers can sense the memory of the former building, but can also recognise its confident continuation into the present day. First of all, a worthless extension was torn down. It had featured the mono-pitched roof which is typical for the area. This feature was incorporated into the new, flat-roofed extension as an imprint of the historic building. An old window had been visibly walled up; the new openings about the exposed steel profiles of the load-bearing structure. When the old building fabric was laid bare, the architects discovered further features which the building had acquired in the course of its history. For example, a thin wall had shifted, leading to cracks. These were laid bare and left visible in the hallway. In the refurbished layout, the bathroom and kitchen are now in the middle; a light well, onto which the master bedroom opens, provides light from the inside of the building.
Our intent was to keep a sense of memory, while simultaneously allowing the new intervention to have its own identity. As we uncovered the original building fabric, we discovered the history of the house.
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