The Hong Kong house is a private extension and renovation project, completed in late 2017 by Winchester based architects AR Design Studio. A world away from the client’s former home in Hong Kong, the house provides an opportunity for the family to have a familiar inside-out space to live in and relax.
Set beside an ancient Roman Road, the existing Grade II listed Victorian property is a beautiful townhouse of proud red brick. The clients bought the house for its scale and charm and approached AR Design Studio to help bring it up to modern standards and provide a much needed connection to their stunning walled garden.
Martin Gardner www.martingardner.com
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Existing – GIA 645 m2
Extension – GIA 98 m2
Consultants & Suppliers
Engineer- Eckersley O’Callaghan
Contractor – BlueFish Construction
Kitchen- Herbert William
Fibre Cement Cladding- Marley Eternit
Glass and glazing – Glas Ceyssens
The massing for the home is divided into three interlocking blocks. Two blocks, one for guests, the other for the family, are connected by a central entrance block. The ground floor becomes a shared zone focused on leisure, socialising and entertainment.
The team used the path of the sun to carve out three garden zones, grouping lifestyle activities based on daily rituals. The leisure facilities of the pool, games room, gym and tennis court all receive strong morning light. The sun tracks to the central courtyard by midday, creating a sheltered sun-trap that is accessed by the entire ground floor. By the afternoon the sun has moved to the kitchen, lounge and patio, making this side of the house perfect for summer barbequing. Balconies and picture windows on the first floor extend view onto the wider context creating strong elevated visual connections with the gardens.
AR Design Studio’s approach to the existing listed house focused on sensitive restoration. The removal of the existing kitchen allowed for the creation of a quiet drawing room while setting up an enfilade of spaces along the rear of the home. The family room is the bridge between the rooms of the home and the new garden room. Where once there were large windows, now there are cut-out doorways, allowing light from the glass link to flood deep into the house. Three steps are the threshold separating the old and the new, guiding you from a vertically formatted space into the horizontal space of the new garden room. A deep section of roof obscures the view of the pool and garden, which, upon arrival is revealed.
The garden room is AR Design Studio’s refined addition to the existing house, acting as a bridge between the garden and the home. A 1.5m wide glass link prevents the old and the new clashing into each other, with the ‘light-touch’ approach reducing the physical impact on the listed building, while exposing the character of its brickwork.
Large double-glazed sliding doors effortlessly open to blur the distinction between inside and out. One minute a cosy living-dining area, the hub of the house, the next, a contemporary take on a garden pagoda, providing a place to escape after sunbathing by the pool. Perfectly designed for warm days hosting family and friends, surrounded by rustling weeping willows, climbing roses, and fruit trees, the garden is a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
The garden room is clad in dark-grey fibre-cement board, chosen for its clean character and large format, to match the tone and colour of the existing slate roof. This theme is continued in the use of 3m x 2m ceramic grey tiles for the pool, landscaping and the interior floor with a flush threshold throughout to unite inside and out. The deep profile of the roof gives it a strength of presence helping to act as a visual staging post before the eye is drawn up to the existing home. Where once the house loomed over its quiet garden, now it embraces and draws it in.
The remaining spaces of home were redecorated, period features rejuvenated and the original wood floor exposed and treated. The entrance and side hall feature bespoke glass and timber staircases, designed to flood their connection spaces with light. This sympathetic restoration has helped invigorate the once dark home with lightness and space.
Read more about the project here.