mata architects incorporates dynamic 'black box' extension into victorian house in london | Construction Buzz #210
black box is a small, first floor rear extension to a mid terrace victorian era house situated on a dense site in london‘s islington neighborhood. with the desire to maximize natural daylight and celebrate key views across adjacent gardens, while still maintaining enough privacy and security, mata architects has built the extension as a ‘reconfigurable box’ in dark stained siberian larch, fit with two bespoke counterbalanced shutters that are manually operated internally using winches.
mata architects has conceived the extension as a box that can be configured in multiple ways, from fully open with window overhang, to counter summer solar gain, to shut tight. the dynamic nature of the façade encourages users to interact with the architecture and adapt their environment for comfort.
‘this is a small and seemingly simple first floor extension conceived as a “reconfigurable box” – both internally and externally,’ notes dan marks, director at mata architects. ‘the triumph, for us, is that this simplicity succeeds in concealing so much precision engineering that is packed into the box. the carefully crafted result is borne out of a close collaboration with our structural engineer and specialist fabricator (based just outside of edinburgh) where the extension was largely prefabricated and tested in factory conditions before delivery to and installation on site.’
the brief by the client, a professional couple, was to have a space that could double as a home office and as a self-contained guest bedroom with en suite. ‘we appointed mata architects to design an extension of our ground floor and the replacement of a dilapidated winter garden/ conservatory on the first floor,’ the couple explains. ‘the aim of the project was to increase our living space on the ground floor and to repurpose an old family bathroom on the first floor in the form of a much-needed home office that could double as a guest bedroom with en suite bathroom.we loved the idea of the first floor as this dynamic black box that could be reconfigured and were delighted that, following a lengthy and, at times delicate, planning process mata were able to obtain full consent for the project we set out to achieve.’