Crystal Palace Coach House, Bromley

'A bold, but sensitive extension and new roof terrace to a two-storey converted coach house situated within a compact cluster of locally listed buildings'

'An innovative design approach that takes account the sensitive nature of the site has resulted in an exciting, yet practical solution...'

Crystal Palace Coach House is a contemporary renovation within the Belvedere Road Conservation Area of Upper Norwood (Crystal Palace).

The site is a compact two-storey former mews house, situated among established, locally Listed Victorian dwellings fronting a narrow lane. The site is located within the Belvedere Road Conservation Area of Upper Norwood, or more usually known as Crystal Palace and contains the location of Pissaro’s National Gallery painting ‘Fox Hill’.

The aim of the project was to enlarge the living, cooking and master bedroom spaces. The strategy was to relocate the external space to first floor level, forming a sun terrace and freeing up the ground floor footprint for development. Sinking the new ground floor allowed generous floor to ceiling heights without impacting on the existing first floor level.

David was mindful of the close proximity of the adjacent dwellings to the site. A carefully located vertical window opening combined with a full width walk-on roof light created a focal point and brought natural light into the sitting area, without adversely impacting on privacy.

Early discussions were held with the local council, whose reponse was positive. Nevertheless, being located in a senstive area meant that the planning application went to the planning committee, who approved the design.

Black stained Larch cladding covers the elevation. of the contemporary addition to the coach house. This provides privacy screening, a harmonious finish and creates a contemporary design language, which contrasts with the historic white stuccoed buildings predominant in the Conservation Area.

Modest, durable, environmentally sound and distinctive, black stained, slatted larch cladding was chosen as a finish. Forming a screened balustrade to the roof terrace, the cladding has a playful surface. Revealing glimpses of sky it is a counterpoint to the density of the white rendered coach house.

Not wishing to simply extrude the existing form, a contrasting roof type was proposed to further emphasising the distinction between old and new.

The completed addition is a vibrant counterpoint to the Victorian buildings. It respects the established urban grain whilst leading the ensemble into the twenty first century.

The project was selected for New London Architecture’s annual ‘Improve, Don’t Move’ exhibition. The Coach House was also published in Grand Designs and Homebuilding & Renovating magazines.

Photography by Steve Lancefield