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Hampstead House, Camden

Words:
Regional Awards Jury

Coppin Dockray reveals quiet mastery of its materials palette at its rescued and painstakingly restored Trevor Dannatt house, winner of a 2024 RIBA London Award

Hampstead House. James O. Davies
Hampstead House. James O. Davies

2024 RIBA London Award

Hampstead House, Camden
Coppin Dockray for private client
Contract value: Confidential
GIA: 294m2

A small early house by modernist architect Trevor Dannatt, on a tightly restricted site in Hampstead and once marked for demolition, has been rescued and triumphantly renewed to create an exquisitely crafted but practical home for a busy, growing family. The client and architect have worked together to pare back years of incongruous additions and reimagine its low stepped plan and staggered courtyards as a creative tension with its garden. Their coherent new interventions and careful conservation demonstrate a real understanding of how to make the most of light and views. Poor ground-floor additions have been rationalised to establish the kitchen as the heart of the house, with living rooms to the rear. Above, a new metal-clad extension houses bedrooms. Sustainable through its retention and upgrading of building fabric and services, the house revels in a quiet mastery of its materials palette, both inside and out.

  • Hampstead House. Jake Balston
    Hampstead House. Jake Balston
  • Hampstead House. Jake Balston
    Hampstead House. Jake Balston
  • Hampstead House. James O. Davies
    Hampstead House. James O. Davies
  • Hampstead House. James O. Davies
    Hampstead House. James O. Davies
1234

Trevor Dannatt was still alive and approaching 101 when the architect contacted him about this early house (1960) for an American client. He thought it had already been demolished – indeed, when the clients, who lived down the street, found it on sale, this seemed like an option. However, they were convinced that despite its unsympathetic treatment over many years, it could be rescued. And so, working assiduously with the architect, they have renewed the house. The project has succeeded in bringing back its fundamental qualities: the enjoyment of the stepping plan, the staggering of courtyards, the deployment of views and dappled light, and the interplay of outside and inside that it so masterfully controls.

Formed around the central kitchen space, the three ground-floor levels are brick – sometimes exposed, sometimes painted. They step up at the rear to engage with a rising garden, itself a cleverly conceived series of terraced spaces, and down towards the front garden. Here, more than a year before construction started, tons of compost and bags of earthworms were introduced to improve soil health. This alone bespeaks the hidden care which the clients and architect have extended towards every part of the scheme. Above, a new extension in easily washable (like a car) metal cladding houses the new bedrooms. This is set back on the western corner to enable dappled light to penetrate the ground-floor living space through newly planted trees in the courtyard.

Although more expensive than a newbuild, keeping the house rather than demolishing it was inherently more sustainable, with as much retention of materials as possible. It has also been extensively upgraded, with improved thermal performance, and new building materials carefully chosen for their durability. The materials palette is deliberately limited but exquisite: new timber window frames, exposed brickwork, and sweet chestnut for the new floors, joinery and stairs to the new extension.

  • Hampstead House. James O. Davies
    Hampstead House. James O. Davies
  • Hampstead House. James O. Davies
    Hampstead House. James O. Davies
  • Hampstead House. James O. Davies
    Hampstead House. James O. Davies
  • Hampstead House. James O. Davies
    Hampstead House. James O. Davies
  • Hampstead House. James O. Davies
    Hampstead House. James O. Davies
12345

The jury came away feeling that the house was an incredibly accomplished piece of work and an elegant home, of which not only the owners are proud but it might be assumed that the late Trevor Dannatt would also have been.

See the rest of the RIBA London winners hereAnd all the RIBA Regional Awards here

To see the whole RIBA Awards process visit architecture.com

RIBA Regional Awards 2024 sponsored by EH Smith and Autodesk

Credits

Contractor Sherlock London
Metal classing Millimetre
Structural engineer Structural Design Studio
Environmental/M&E engineer Jones King
Quantity surveyor/ cost consultant Stockdale
Landscape architect Jane Brockbank Gardens
Lighting design Lightplan

 

Credit: Coppin Dockray
Credit: Coppin Dockray
Credit: Coppin Dockray
Credit: Coppin Dockray

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