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Mid-Century Modern in conservation area in The Avenues in Harpenden

Situated in The Avenues Conservation Area of Harpenden but built in the 1950s and unsympathetically extended in the 1980s with a conservatory which was, typically, too hot in summer and too cold in winter.

The house was not suitable for contemporary family life. 

Though in a Conservation Area the house was not visible from the public realm and did not make a positive contribution.

The proposal was to replace the dated conservatory with a new open plan kitchen dining family room.

The client brief was not to have a flat roof. The existing rear facade already had two gables so this made the introduction of more roof pitches challenging.

the design process chose to contrast the existing two steep gables with two shallow pitch roof forms with glazed gable.

The eaves project dramatically to provide passive solar shading to the floor to ceiling glazing, the soffit finished in Western Red Cedar.

This forms part of UCHI Architecture’s principle of Fabric First Approach to more sustainable design. The passive solar shading reduces heat gain and solar glare in summer to reduce cooling load. In the winter, by contrast, the roof form allows for penetration of low angle sun to reduce heating load.

The forms are reminiscent of the Case Study houses and Mid-Century design language of California.

The roof forms almost read like a piece of origami.

The interior uses herring bone wood floor running flush through Cortizo sliding doors to Millboard deck.

Exposed steel columns painted dark grey to match the huge island kitchen by Tom Howley.

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