31/44 Architects shows how London's 19th-century townhouses can be brought into the 21st century, with this three-home development in Peckham.
Sited prominently on a street corner beyond the established building-line and attached to an existing Victorian terrace within a cohesive street pattern, the new house does not declare its presence too boldly, but reveals itself slowly. Some might not notice it; those that do will recognise that it is entirely new and not part of the original building fabric.
It connects with the familiar and established qualities of the surroundings. Under careful inspection and through the detailed design, however, it establishes a quiet, subversive distance. The cornice line is continued across the new dwelling but broken and stepped – both associating the two and providing clear articulation. The more sparse version of the elaborated entrance ways on the existing terrace appears conventional until you note that the new dwelling is entered at the lower level, the upper ground ‘door’ has become a window, and the canopy sheltering the door beneath appears – out of the corner of the eye – as part of the stair. Each small move reinforces the sense of a quietly subversive building to the casual passer-by.