The challenge was to provide a substantial contemporary room in the roof with an external terrace to take advantage of the sea view, whilst creating the minimum impact on an existing Victorian terrace.
The brief was to provide for the addition of a new Library in an existing roof space to house a collection of 1500 architecture and art books, many of them over-sized and requiring purpose-built shelving. The existing volume allows for a space of approximately 60m2, 3m high in the centre with book cases and plan chests in the eaves, a roof terrace of 5m² facing west with a view of the sea, and storage of approximately 18m² in the corners of the room.
The new room was to be light and airy, providing good insulation, high levels of natural light and the ability for natural cross-ventilation. The requirement for the room was to provide a sense of repose and well being and be conducive to meditation and relaxation. The space was to be contemporary but not to feel alien to the remainder of the house, which retains most of its original features. To arrive at the right point on the top floor, the new stair was not to be placed above the existing stair but “cut-out” of two rooms on the first floor whilst retaining all the original features in those rooms.
The new structure in the roof was a complicated one, because of the lack walls below that could take any support and required over 8 tonnes of steel. The stair, bookshelves and plan chests are all bespoke and in oak.
The work did not require a planning consent and an application was successfully lodged for permitted development.