The Street I

Other Studio Architects were appointed in 2020 to sensitively reconfigure and extend an eighteenth century Norfolk cottage. The project was completed in 2022.

Core to the brief was the creation of a sustainable and contemporary space to allow family and friends to dine around a single table.

The design focused on simple proportions and the use of natural materials, with the form based on an idea of a timber ‘pavilion’, a celebratory structure looking to compliment, draw reference from, yet also contrast the original building. 

Title: The Street
Location: North Norfolk
Year: 2022
Type: Dwelling
Client: Private
Status: Complete

Architect: Other Studio Architects
Structural Engineer: Agnos Studio
Contractor: Joe Beek

Photography: Peter Molloy

‘We have been living in the new room for about a month now and it has really changed our lives. It is beautiful, an outstanding design and well built.’
- Client


The Brief

The project developed from three core strands found within the brief:

  • Framed landscape. Opening up quite a ‘closed’ house to the garden.
  • Creating a space for conversation. The formation of a family space centred around a much loved midcentury dining table.
  • Creating a locally sourced and sustainable project that could utilise carpentry skills held within the family.

Existing Situation

Like all projects it started with a strategic review of the existing ground floor layout and how this worked for the family, which highlighted three key issues:

  • Dark north facing kitchen requiring electric lighting all year round
  • An existing South facing music / dining room not wide enough for the family to sit around one table and neglected throughout most of the year.
  • Limited connection to the garden / south facing aspect.  

The Proposal

Our strategic moves were to:

  • Relocate the kitchen into the music / dining room
  • Extend the narrow south facing music / dining room
  • Create a music room / snug in the existing north facing kitchen

All of which created a much more functional kitchen / dining room, increased light and helped create better connectivity with the garden.

Design-wise we continued to explore the idea of a framed landscape through the creation of a timber ‘pavilion-esque’ exoskeleton structure, with a nod towards the exposed oak beams found within the original house.

Two centrally split glazed walls introduce of as much natural light as possible yet utilising the wide timber ring beam and the locating the glazing on the inner face mitigated any solar gain issues.

Detailed Design and Construction:

Developing an entirely timber and light weight structure made sense from both our design intentions and our sustainability ambitions, with the entire project designed as a kit of parts.

This route allowed the clients son to have the skills to build the majority of the project and project manage anything outside of his capabilities.

In developing a light weight solution and minimising the use of concrete the Structural Engineer suggested using Ground Screws as foundations. The existing ground conditions of heavy clay soil and the proximity of a reasonable sized tree in the neighbouring garden meant we were facing deep concrete foundations as an alternative. The choice of ground screws almost entirely eliminated the need for concrete. We sat a raised timber floor on four screws (which were installed in hours at the fraction of the cost) with an oak ring beam along the edge.

The timber itself we were keen to be used as efficiently as possible both structurally and aesthetically, creating a calm and warm space.

Local air dried oak was used externally to create the timber exoskeleton. Internally we used kiln dried oak. Timber offered us a material which will soften against the landscape and age beautifully overtime with the existing house. Further to this a celebrated copper down pipe will undergo its own transformation as time passes.

The low carbon footprint continued to drive the internal material specification, rubber flooring, use of rock wool to insulate and a recycled glass worktop all played a part.

Collaboration has been key to the success of this project, in the early stages this was between Other Studio Architects (OSA) & the client which progressed to a seamless collaboration between OSA, the craftsmanship and carpentry of Joe Beek & the Structural Engineering of Agnos Studio, to realise the project.