A sea of transparency

Look, ma, no columns – this extension creates a rear volume that appears to hover in the air – behind the scenes, two strategies were required to achieve this

Renovation and extension by Finkernagel Ross

From the architecture/design company:

International architecture and interiors practice Finkernagel Ross has given a traditional Victorian terraced property situated in West London a dramatic and unobstructed new space at the rear of the property, maximising views of the garden and bathing the new interior with sunlight.

Having lived in their home within the Wandsworth Common Conservation Area for many years, and having unsuccessfully been through the process of re-thinking the way their home worked before, Finkernagel Ross’ homeowners were clear in what they wanted – a razor-sharp, unobstructed, contemporary new space that contrasted from their traditional Victorian home.

Plus, the new space was to have dramatic ceiling heights, accompanied by an abundance of natural light

Finkernagel Ross director Catherine Finkernagel says: “It’s a space which looks fairly simple but in reality, is anything but. 

"Our homeowner wished for a striking focal point to their rear back extension – various iterations led to a design which appears to float and leaves many questioning how it was achieved.”

To achieve the extremely challenging unobstructed part of the brief Finkernagel Ross worked in close collaboration with structural engineers SD Structures, sketching and modelling ways in which they could support the extraordinarily long first floor closet wing extension above, so that the homeowners could have a space below which was completely free of columns.

The resulting solution required not one, but two structural cantilevers, which offer no visible structure in the space below. 

Instead, the hovering first floor extension has been accentuated by being wrapped with glass, in order to let the light flood in. 

Both the side and rear outrigger walls at ground level were replaced with a double cantilever steel structure, nearly 9m long by 3m wide, which supports the upper outrigger levels and a fully glazed roof at ground floor.

The cantilever structure required careful detailing with the steel beams concealed using brick slips, and provides a seamless support to the glazed roof without any visible structure – resulting in the glass appearing to pass through the brickwork. 

The steelwork to the front and rear of the cantilevered structure provides framing to the perimeter of the glazing, allowing the centrepiece of the double cantilever to float surrounded by a sea of transparency.

Credit list

Renovating architect
Structural engineer
SD Structures
Kitchen design
Bulthaup via Kitchen Architecture
LG Hi Macs, Lunar Sand
Gaggenau, Liebherr and Bora
Middle reception
Chaise lounge – Cordemeijer Cleopatra daybed; throw – Ferm Living; side table/chair – Soho Home
Kitchen table – Another Country; dining chairs – Another Country; bench – & Tradition; accessories – Maud & Mable; art – Puck Steinbrecher
DBZW finish (brushed brass), by Joseph Giles
Living room floor
European Oak Herringbone, by Trunk Flooring
Contractor and bespoke joinery
MH Costa
Rear facade cladding
Neolith Mont Blanc
Display cabinetry
Rimadesio display cabinet by Kitchen Architecture
Kitchen taps
Quooker Fusion Square Tap
Front reception, furniture
Roll top sofa – Sedelia; rug –The White Company; coffee table – Soho Home; side table – Soho Home; chair – Soho Home
General – Farrow & Ball Cornforth White on walls, skirting & architraves, together with Strong White on ceiling, cornices and windows; kitchen – Dulux bespoke colour
Sofa – Sedelia Sennen Curved; rug – Urbanara; coffee table – John Lewis; side chairs – Six the Residence
Sky-frame sliding doors via Cantifix; structural glazing and rooflight via Cantifix
Kitchen floor
Silkystone Light, stone-look tiles by InOpera

Designed by: Finkernagel Ross

Story by: Trendsideas

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