Timber Awards 2015: Rosefield

Read more about Rosefield, a private house shortlisted for the RIAS Best Use of Timber Award 2015.

A street view of a house on Rosefield Avenue Lane with a ground floor red brick facade. Vertical timber slats cover the first floor and garage doors.
Published: 14/12/2015

The project at Rosefield Avenue Lane is a refurbishment and extension in the conservation area of Portobello. The existing building was converted from a small stable/coach house in the mid-1980s to form a one-bedroom dwelling.

This project sought to save this deteriorating property and sympathetically extend it to secure its future as a desirable family home for generations to come.

Case study: Timber Awards 2015 – Rosefield

Download this case study to take away key learning and project information from Rosefield.

The project

Respecting the character of the building was a priority. The architects aimed to minimise alterations to the principal elevation by retaining as much of the existing massing and working with existing openings as much as was reasonably practicable.

Ground floor levels and the limitations placed on the internal layout prohibited the use of the existing garage door as a new entrance, so this intervention reinstated the original opening on the south-west elevation to create a new front door.

This move substantiated the existing building as the dominant element and rationalised the internal hierarchy. Principal rooms are accessed from a central hallway and allow the building to work efficiently in plan and section, making the most of the narrow and low existing building.

A corner view of the house on Rosefield Avenue Lane. Vertical timber slats cover the side of the wall with the sliding door wide open.

Rosefield: a side view from private car parking space

Scorched timber slats up to the roof of the house. Image credit: Matthew Johnson / A448 Ltd

Use of timber

Materiality was a key consideration. While the architects wanted to retain and include the existing boundary wall brickwork in the new design, they were conscious that another material added to the palette should give a clear identity to the extension.

When carrying out alterations to any building, the architects believe that it is important to allow its story to continue. They chose larch cladding not only to distinguish new elements, but also to reference timber stable doors that formed a significant portion of the building’s principal elevation.

Historically this building was also used as a coal merchant’s yard. The blackening of the timber loosely reflects the former life of this unique building.

The decision to scorch the timber was also functional and will serve to increase the longevity of the larch. A side effect of this is that it also highlights the patterns and texture of the wood grain, and each larch batten has a completely different texture to its neighbour.

The use of subtle insertions of matching timber within the existing elevation further harmonises the new and the old and contributes to the building being read as a considered whole.

Sliding doors from the House on Rosefield Avenue Lane's kitchen and dining area open into the garden. The roof also has built-in skylights.

Rosefield: exterior from garden

Sliding doors leading to the back garden, allowing ample lighting to seep through. Image credit: Matthew Johnson / AA49 Ltd

Header image credits: Mathew Johnson / AA49 Ltd

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