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Suspended shade

Suspended shade

The landscape was an integral element to the overall design and concept for this project.
The full project photography and text is available at Haptic House
An extract of the full text relating to the landscape elementĀ of this project, reviewedĀ by Catherine Slessor:

The transition from inside to outside is defined and expressed through different manifestations of stone. Individual York stones are inset into a specially mixed terrazzo which forms the floor of the living space. This ā€˜stepping stoneā€™ path flows out into the garden, extending up a cantilevered staircase crafted from solid stone, designed to emphasise its monolithic quality. Looping around the garden, the meandering trajectory is marked by reclaimed sleepers made from Azobe hardwood. Its focal point is the Suspended Shade, a dramatically cantilevered timber structure which functions as a discrete pavilion for contemplation and entertaining.

Secret Garden

Secret Garden

For this landscape project for a house in St Johnā€™s Wood, the brief was to create an entirely separate enclave within the confines of an existing back garden. Paul McAneary Architects subtle and inventive use of planting creates architectural layers and depth to engender a sense of seclusion and tranquility that tactfully blocks out the distracting urban milieu.

An evergreen screen of planting heralds the entrance to the garden and also conceals it from view. A winding path leads to a sunken seating area formed from rough, chisel-faced sandstone. As you descend to the lower level, you become fully submerged within within a luxuriant bower and the house and its wider surroundings disappear.

The trajectory is delineated by a narrow winding path made from reclaimed railway sleepers. Laid in an offset yet orthogonal pattern, the sleepers impart a calm, ordering spirit typical of traditional Japanese Zen gardens. Ground covering of Soleirolia (babyā€™s tears) and Dicranoweisia cirrata (moss) flourish between the timbers. Their jewel-like, bright green tones form an animated carpet of vegetation spreading out over the ground in unexpected configurations.

At every turn, planting beds are visible from ground to eye level. Forming an immersive, green space, these layers of planting are synonymous with an English country garden. Rosy purple Verbena bonariensis and Fragaria vesca (alpine strawberries) line the edges of paths, while Stipa tenuissima (fronded grass) provides texture and movement behind. Rising high above eye level, larger shrubs and trees such as Prunis Iusitanica and Philadelphus ā€˜Virginalā€™ form the central structure of the beds, demarcating different parts of the garden. The intermediate level is alive with vibrant colours and textures. Pink Fuschia riccartonii and purple Allium giganteum add contrast and provide food for insects to flourish.

A solid, rough-faced bench acts as a focal point along the path. Employing just four elements, its minimal design complements the architectural language of the garden. At night the landscape is transformed by subtle, integrated lighting. Uplighters follow the path casting a gentle glow on the undersides of leaves and stems. Highlighting plants from new angles creates an intriguing interplay of textures and shadows, while separate lights illuminate the surrounding edges of the garden. Framing and highlighting the inner layer of planting in this way focuses attention on the heart of the garden evoking a sense of intimacy and seclusion.

The unpredictable nature of working with living, growing materials provided new challenges for Paul McAneary Architects. Over time, Secret Garden will evolve, changing in form and composition, yet remaining an oasis of calm, providing therapeutic respite from the hectic nature of urban life. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value Private
Location St Johns Wood, London
Client Private
DateĀ 2011
AreaĀ 57mĀ²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design ServiceĀ From design concept to detailed design through to end of construction,landscape design
Supplier The London Gardening Company

Tortoise Enclosure

Tortoise Enclosure

Involving an unorthodox brief to house ten tortoises and a client eager to commission an exemplar of ecologically responsive design, this project synthesises form and materials to create a compact yet highly striking structure. Occupying a garden site in Northern Ireland, it takes the form of a 2.8m high curved stone wall that defines and conceals the tortoise house. Bands of roughly chipped sandstone varying in depth and length powerfully express the thickness and texture of the stone. Drip details are deliberately omitted, so the wall will evolve over time in a natural and beautiful way,

Beyond the wall, the tortoise house is constructed from highly insulated timber walls and a frameless, triple-glazed roof. The refined, frameless glass detail creates the illusion of an enclosure open to the sky, maximising light and warmth. Treated glass prevents overheating. Within the minimal interior, a streamlined kitchen provides a food preparation and bathing area for the tortoises. Underfloor heating is controlled by a thermostat to maintain an optimum temperature all year round.

The walls of the enclosure are clad in cedar slats treated and protected by charring, a technique based on traditional Japanese construction. The cedar is allowed to burn until it is blackened and charred, effectively sealing it without the need for chemical treatments which can damage the environment. Employed for the first time in the UK, the technique results in a long-lasting and visually alluring finish. Elegant bronze detailing protects the cedar and counterpoints the rich tones of the wood.

The combination of rough stone and smooth burnt timber gives the building a distinctive presence that merges with the garden landscape while providing a functional enclosure for its venerable reptilian residents. As tortoises are famous for their longevity, the project is also an apt manifestion of Paul McAneary Architects philosophy of wabi sabi, in which elements are subtly transmuted through age and use. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value Private
Location Nothern Ireland
Client Private
Date 2010 – 2011
Area 8m2
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design ServiceĀ From design concept to detailed design to the end of construction, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, landscape design, structural design, material creation, survey, planning, building control, 3D visualisation
Main Contractor L. S. Construction
Supplier The Plank Co, Top Glass, Thomas Rooney & Sons Ltd, Rathbanna Limited
Press 2013 BD New Architects 2013, 2010 ā€˜Masonary Overviewā€™, AJ Specification, November 2010
Awards 2012 Surface Design Awards –Ā  Highly Commended for Housing Exterior Surface Award

Garden Room House

Garden Room

Garden Room House shows how a Victorian family house can be imaginatively transformed by adding a single glass room to the existing dwelling. This simple move reconceptualises the garden as a transformable indoor/outdoor room and frees up the footprint of the house, enhancing the effect of natural light and maximising storage.

Previously, the client had struggled to gain planning permission for a small side extension and approached Paul McAneary Architects to propose an alternative. Paul McAneary Architects devised a design that effectively doubles the terraced houseā€™s ground floor footprint and creates a garden room in its truest sense.

The rear of the house was formerly occupied by a dilapidated garage. This was demolished and the resulting awkward, underused space replaced by a single storey extension connected to the kitchen by a glass walkway.Ā  A central courtyard is created, defined on three sides by the living space and a set of fully retractable glass doors, cunningly engineered so that the corners are free of supports. When the doors are open, garden and ground floor meld into a seamless and senuous inside/outside realm. The garden becomes not simply an extension of the kitchen, living and play room, but a continually colonised connection between these spaces.

The original decking, which became dangerously slippery when wet, was replaced with grass and integrated drainage, extending the life of the garden through different climates and seasons. Blurring the distinction between inside and out, garden and house are on the same continuous level, so that space flows fluidly between between the two.

A curved ceiling extends along the length of the house, finessing the junction with a 19m long storage wall, the largest Paul McAneary Architects have created to date. Concealed LED lighting animates the repetitive geometry of the storage wall, while a recessed bench and two shelving units provide functional focal points. White oiled oak flooring, deliberately skip sawn to achieve a rougher texture, adds warmth to the interior.

From concept to detail, the remodelling aims to open up and enhance the living space creating a practical and civilised armature for family life. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value Ā£ 340k
Location Waltham Forest, London
Client Private
Date 2014 – 2015
Area 117mĀ²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design ServiceĀ From design concept to detailed design through to end of construction, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, furniture design, survey,building control, 3D visualisation
Main Contractor John McEvilly, MC Construction,
Supplier Plank Co, Easigrass Ltd, IQ Glass
Press 2016 The Ā£100k house: Tricks of the Trade, BBC 2

Hovering House

Hovering House

In refurbishing and extending a Victorian terraced house in Notting Hill, this project explores a language of Minimalism that nonetheless respects and incorporates the existing Victorian architecture. In doing so it transforms a dark, dated and compartmentalised dwelling into a light and airy contemporary space.

The bold design strategically removes existing walls to create the largest possible lateral space. The corner of the house now appears to hover above the kitchen, its crisp white ceiling framed by the exposed edge of original London stock bricks. Chunky zinc beams support a glass roofed side extension that slides seamlessly into the weathered brick facade. Because of the differential movements of two contrasting materials and the challenge of watertightness, this immaculately choreographed meeting of delicate glass and robust masonry was an especially challenging detail. However, it has now become a signature Paul McAneary Architects feature, implemented across many other projects.

Large aluminium-framed glass doors open up to the garden, extending the kitchen space into an external raised seating area. Paving creates spatial and visual continuity between inside and out. The kitchen ceiling plan folds around a full width glass skylight, creating subtle plays of light and graduated shadows that animate the interior. White oiled oak and reconstituted stone constitute a finely judged neutral palette. A bespoke storage wall provides an eminently practical solution to the demands of modern domestic life. Doors fold out to reveal a back painted glass section, equipped with plugs for appliances and cutlery.

Throughout, clutter is subsumed and rationalised in an elegantly minimalist yet functional interior. The original staircase was retained, creating a looping floor plan. Clad in oak, with shadow gaps defining the treads and non-scruff white rubber on the risers, the stair is effectively repurposed through the clever use of materials. Maintaining separate living spaces for the different needs of the client, this organisational arrangement is both fluid and efficient, ingeniously optimising and transforming space in a way that epitomises Paul McAneary Architects architectural philosophy. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value Ā£180k
Location Notting Hill, London
Client Private
Date From – 2010
Area 202mĀ²
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design ServiceĀ From design concept to detailed design through to end of construction, lighting design, glazing design, furniture design, survey,building control, 3D visualisation
Supplier Aston-Matthews, Direct Stone, Zinc, Vola
Press 2011 Marcelo Seferin, ā€˜Architect Day: Paul McAneary Architectsā€™, Abuzeedo, 13 September 2011
Awards 2014 UK Property Awards, Highly Commended for Best Architecture Single Residence London, UK